Teachers In UK

Carrying on from my ‘wingeing poms’ piece from yesterday I liked this piece of irreverence sent to me by a friend in England!

“After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said:

‘Let me see if I’ve got this right.

‘You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning.

‘You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride.

‘You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a cheque book, and apply for a job.

‘You want me to check their heads for lice, recognise signs of antisocial behavior, and make sure that they all pass the final exams.

‘You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents in English, Spanish or any other language, by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card.

‘You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps.

‘You want me to do all this and then you tell me. . . I CAN’T PRAY?”

The picture? My late parents – both teachers!


The Brits On Holiday!

Check this list of the top ten things the British don’t like about hotels when they’re on holiday:

Top 10 hotel gripes:

1. Lack of space and private facilities

2. Price – especially when there’s more than two of you

3. Astronomical mini bar prices

4. Cleaners ‘tidying up’ possessions when they should only be making the bed

5. Being able to hear the TV, screaming children and ‘nookie’ in the room next door

6. Having to get washed and dressed for breakfast (and by a certain hour)

7. Cleaners coming in unannounced

8. Knowing the best food is gone or has been sitting ‘warming’ for a long time if you turn up late for breakfast or the buffet dinner

9. People who ‘reserve’ sun loungers

10. Chintz

I’d love to see a list of hoteliers’ top ten moans about the Brits when they’re on holiday!


The Brown Dog, Barnes

My son Jan Martyn – seen above being dangerous on Livingstone Island in 2006 – is Chef at The Brown Dog in Barnes, West London on The Thames. This is what Time Out recently had to say about it:

“There’s much to cherish about this gastropub tucked among the cute backstreet cottages on the border between Barnes and East Sheen. A handsome space by day, with cream wood panelling and retro metal signs, it positively twinkles by night thanks to the warm wooden furniture, polished red ceiling and copper globe lamps above the central bar.

The bar divides the smallish space into drinking and dining areas, and there’s also a back courtyard for summer lounging. Prices and clientele are upmarket, but not stuffy, and the food can be very good. Classy ingredients are used in unfussy combinations, whether it’s top-notch seafood (dressed Cromer crab or Colchester rock oysters to start, beautifully cooked lemon sole with brown shrimp and parsley beurre noisette to follow), a lavish Sunday roast (Longhorn ribeye or whole poussin with all the trimmings), or comforting puds (rice pudding with damson jam, egg custard tart with raspberries).

Attention is paid to seasonality, witness a whole baked vacherin mont d’or as a starter to share. Kids get mini portions of adult dishes. French bottles dominate the wine list, and there’s Hepworth Sussex, Bitter and a seasonal guest ale on tap. Dogs (of any colour) are welcome.”

Sounds nice doesn’t it? Doing well isn’t he?


Bungee – Whoops!

As he hurtled towards the water at 80mph on a bungee jump, Rishi Baveja anxiously awaited the moment when the elastic cord snapped him back aloft. It never came. The harness around his feet worked free and he continued accelerating until he hit the surface of a Thai lagoon.

Fortunately he managed to take the full force of the impact on his chest, escaping catastrophic head injuries. But the Cambridge graduate still suffered a ruptured spleen, torn liver, collapsed lungs and massive bruising. Surgeons, who likened his injuries to those of a car crash victim, had to remove the spleen and he spent a month in a Bangkok hospital before he was well enough to return to his home near Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

‘All the doctors were staggered that I lived,’ he said. ‘I’m very lucky. If I had landed head first I would be brain damaged or dead.’ Mr Baveja, whose father Amarjeet is a GP, was in Phuket on a month-long holiday to celebrate gaining a 2.2 degree in engineering. He paid £50 to make the jump at the Jungle Bungy centre in Kathu. A crane took him to a 165ft platform where a harness was placed around his feet and fastened to a bungee cord with several wraps of material.

A video of the jump records his yelp of fear just before he hits the water, while an instructor appears to say ‘Oh’, as the realisation of what is happening dawns on him. Mr Baveja said it was not clear how the harness was able to work loose and he would not be suing the operators because he feels there is little prospect of success. ‘I knew the jump would be scary but I didn’t think it was dangerous. I had a long phone conversation with my mum telling her it was safe.

‘She only believed me when I told her that the website of the jump centre claimed it had a 100 per cent safety record. It still says that. I didn’t need to do that jump. I wish I hadn’t.’ Mr Baveja’s parents flew out to his bedside when they were told of the accident. Despite losing his spleen he hopes to return to full health – and has not been put off extreme sports. He plans to go skydiving when he has recovered.

Well at least it wasn’t in Zambia! I like the bit where he says if he’d hit the water head first he would have been ‘brain damaged’ mmmmm…..yes!

The picture? Not Baveja – Kwameh Anyona doing a safe one at Vic Falls! He stayed in accommodation provided at Chanters Lodge, Livingstone. In my years in Livingstone there has never been a bungee accident!


Living In 2009

Thanks to the lovely Amilha Young for this one! There she is in the photo – we worked together at the Ridgeway a long time ago – since when Amilha has become a high powered London lawyer!


1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.

2 You haven’t played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don’t have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn’t have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. : )

12 You’re reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn’t a #9 on this list


Go on, forward this to your friends. You know you want to. ha ha ha ha.


The Bite Club

I liked this article on the BBC website as something different in restaurants in London.

By Dan Bell
BBC News

A generation has been taught by TV chefs to aim high in their cuisine, but some people are taking it further and opening mini-restaurants in their living rooms. In a dark cobbled back street in east London, there is a battered wooden door that hides a restaurant unlike any other. Stepping inside is like tumbling through a rabbit hole into Wonderland.

Outside there are wailing sirens and grimy neon-lit takeaways, but inside the space bursts with brightly-coloured fabrics and strange theatrical objects – a pig’s head mounted as a hunting trophy, a globe, a dolls’ house, a glowing orange duck. This is The Pale Blue Door, a restaurant that is actually the home of set designer Tony Hornecker, and one of about a dozen “underground restaurants” to have recently opened across London.

Advertised by word of mouth, e-mail and on Facebook, underground restaurants are private homes opened to the public by keen amateur chefs. Tony’s surreal cabaret event serves a chunky tomato, basil and crouton starter, followed by slabs of roast beef, then a crumble dessert, all served in gilt-edged Victorian porcelain, for £30 including wine.

Less flamboyant is The Bruncheon Club, which offers Sunday morning Bloody Marys, poached eggs, coffee, croissants and newspapers, while sitting in a sunny back garden, for £12. What underground restaurants have in common, though, is the chance for amateur chefs to test their skills for a paying public and an emphasis on eating as a social experience.

This movement has been enabled by the internet, but it actually translates the virtual into the real. One of the first to open her home to hungry strangers was Ms Marmite Lover, who does not want to give her real name. As well as hosting regular dinners, she reviews venues and is writing a book about underground dining.

She says the emphasis on eating communally is what makes underground restaurants special.
Unlike a traditional restaurant, she says, you can go to an underground restaurant alone and feel comfortable talking to the people next to you – something that has particular value in an anonymous city like London. “What’s interesting about this movement is that it’s been enabled by the internet – Twitter, blogs – but it actually translates the virtual into the real.”

At The Pale Blue Door, diners are made to feel welcome by a maitre d’ in trainers and running vest, and soon find themselves talking to people on other tables. There’s a group of estate agents, happy to discuss house prices, while another table houses a birthday party in fancy dress.

The Bruncheon Club
, also based in east London, is at the Victorian terrace home of 20-something flatmates Gregg and Maya. At a normal cafe, conversation with strangers is not always an option Guests arriving on a sunny Sunday morning are welcomed with a kiss on the cheek, while a young man wrapped in a towel darts across the hall out of the bathroom. Then it’s through the chef’s bedroom, and into a sunlit garden through some French doors.

There is a patio table, set with water glasses, cutlery and Sunday newspapers. The trellis has been decorated with balloons and soft reggae music burbles along in the background. In their kitchen, as Gregg trickles oil into a food mixer full of duck egg yolks and butter, Maya explains what inspired them start their Sunday bruncheon club.

It began with the idea of offering a complete service for people with hangovers – going to their homes, cooking breakfast and tidying up – but then she visited an underground restaurant and was hooked. “I didn’t think it was out of my league – I’ve got a nice house, I can cook good food. It’s a business idea that doesn’t cost that much – there’s no start-up costs.”

Maya says they simply set up a Facebook page, an e-mail address and a blog, and the whole thing seemed to take on a momentum of its own. “We thought we just wanted to do it as an experiment, but it just took off without us putting much effort in and it just spiralled.” The customers seem happy with the idea. “I like the community aspect to it. You’re more likely to meet new people and talk to people, while a restaurant meal is just private,” says Alistair Boyle, 28, who works in digital advertising.

Rachel Wareing, 29, a writer, adds: “It’s exciting to go somewhere that’s secret, to find a new hidden place.” However, the one issue with a community driven by blogs, e-mail networks and Facebook pages, is that it tends to be rather self-selecting. But in time, perhaps, the phenomenon may spread.


Miss Zambia & Other Award Nominations!

Following on from yesterday’s story about Anawana Haloba nominated for an important art award in Norway here’s a story from The Post about more nominations for Zambia.

Reigning Miss Zambia UK, Andella Chileshe Matthews (above) has been nominated ‘best beauty queen’ in the Black Entertainment, Fashion, Film & Television Awards (BEFFTAs) to be held at London’s Hilton Metropole on October 17. According to a statement by Justina Mutale, chief executive officer of Perryfield Promotions, the organisers of Miss Zambia UK Beauty Pageant, the BEFFTA Awards is an international prestigious ceremony committed to recognising the all-around accomplishments of black stars.

Andella, who recently represented Zambia at Miss Universe 2009 in the Bahamas, joins other celebrity nominees such as supermodel Naomi Campbell, film star Noel Clarke, award-winning Jazz musician Yolanda Brown, and X-Factor sensations Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke. Others are Miss England Rachel Christie, celebrity photographer, Bukola Garace, top international models, Ibukun Jegede and Jasmina Robinson, and fashion designers Gavin Pierre Medford and Yemi Osunkoya of the world renowned Kosibah Creations.

Mutale stated that former Miss Zambia UK Rosemary Chileshe has also been nominated as ‘best former beauty queen’ while the Miss Zambia UK Beauty Pageant has been nominated ‘best beauty pageant’ and Perryfield Promotions has been nominated “best event promoter”. “I am very proud of Andella and Rosemary on their achievements and BEFFTA nominations. To have four BEFFTA nominations in our camp is a great achievement for us at Miss Zambia UK.

“We would be dedicating the BEFFTA Award to all the contestants who have ever participated in the Miss Zambia UK Beauty Pageant. By participating, they have each in their own unique way played a key role in making Miss Zambia UK one of the best pageants in the world,” Mutale stated.

Black stars to be honoured with the BEFFTA Awards will include musicians, dancers, choreographers, comedians, radio personalities, television personalities, film, actors, actresses, models, beauty queens, DJs, event promoters, fashion designers, hair stylists, make-up artists, photographers, spoken word artists, beauty pageants, community newspapers and magazines.

The BEFFTA Awards ceremony will be filmed for television broadcasting for both UK and international audience. The ceremony will be hosted by UK’s top comedian and Choice FM radio presenter, and TV personality Richard Blackwood.


Green Earth

Dave Sanger who recently stayed with us at Chanters Lodge has a company in UK called Green Earth. Here’s all about it:

> Consultants in arboriculture, environment and green space management.

> Green Earth Consultancy can provide assistance with many areas of environmental concern.

> Trees are a speciality, but Green Earth has a wealth of expertise available covering a wide range of environment matters and Green Space management.

► Site Surveys
► Design
► Management

are just part of the assistance Green Earth can provide.

Dave and wife of 27 years Sally guested on our weekly radio show while they were here and gave great value. The photo shows Dave and Sally with daughter Kate and Kate’s boyfriend Chris on a visit to Victoria Falls during their stay.


Follow Livingstone!

This from ‘Bighearted Scotland‘ Participants will apparently raft the white water, trek and canoe. Tough! I think it’s not for the faint hearted!

“One of Scotland’s earliest Bighearted heroes was the missionary David Livingstone. Livingstone was a combination of missionary, doctor, explorer, scientist and anti-slavery activist who spent 30 years exploring in Africa, exploring almost a third of the continent, from its southern tip almost to the equator.

Livingstone received a gold medal from the London Royal Geographical for being the first person to cross the entire African Continent from west to east.

Bighearted Scotland is offering adventurous people the opportunity to follow in Livingstone’s footsteps. You can experience many of the sights and sounds witnessed by Livingstone in Zambia by joining our Livingstone’s Footsteps Challenge. Your 10 day adventure begins with your arrival in Livingstone, when you will have time to view the falls, acclimatise to the area and begin to take in the breathtaking scenery and exciting wildlife.
This from ‘Bighearted Scotland

“Like Livingstone, you will be rafting and canoeing on the Zambezi and game walking through spectacular landscapes populated by elephants, hippos, crocs, antelope and many more. You will also have the opportunity to visit the spectacular Victoria Falls.

Livingstone wasn’t just an explorer, he also gave back to the African community and you will also have the opportunity to contribute by spending one day working in a local community project in Zambia. You will also be supporting a wide range of causes back in Scotland through raising a minimum sponsorship target of £2,750. We will give you help and support to raise your sponsorship money and prepare yourself for the challenge. You will be asked to raise a guaranteed sum of sponsorship money in addition to paying a deposit of £325 to confirm your place. This will cover the costs of your challenge and includes all meals, guides and activities, flights, transportation and accommodation. It excludes alcohol & tips.

Please note that we do not enter Zimbabwe at any stage – all activities are done on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls.” Yes – even that picture of Jan, one of my sons, dangling over the edge!

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