Thursday, 30 August 2012

Life panels

While watching the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games, I found out some interesting facts...

On the day of the opening of the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, Stoke Mandeville Hospital organised a sports competition for British World War Two veteran patients with spinal cord injuries. The games were held again at the same location in 1952, and Dutch veterans took part alongside the British, making it the first international competition of its kind. These Stoke Mandeville Games have been described as the precursors of the Paralympic Games. The Paralympics were subsequently officialised as a quadrennial event tied to the Olympic Games, and the first official Paralympic Games, no longer open solely to war veterans, were held in Rome in 1960.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital is a large National Health Service hospital within Aylesbury Urban Area to the south of the town of Aylesbury, near the village of Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire. It is part of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

The hospital's National Spinal Injuries Centre is one of the largest specialist spinal units in the world, and the pioneering rehabilitation work carried out there by Sir Ludwig Guttmann led to the development of the Paralympic Games. Mandeville, one of the official mascots for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London, was named in honour of the hospital's contribution to Paralympic sports.

So, the Paralympic Games started at a horrible, socialist, at the mercy of bureaucrats hospital!

Stoke Mandeville is still a centre of excellence for spinal cord injuries. People involved in accidents or suffering from neurologic illnesses don't need to sell their houses in order to have the best possible treatment. The British get the best and don't pay a penny.

Fancy that...

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Beef Burgundy

Mrsgunka posted a recipe the other day and it has inspired even the readers who don't normally cook. It seems like a good idea to have it as a proper post, it's easier to find!

Easy Beef Burgundy (aka Beef Stroganoff)

1. Find crock pot, or use large pan.

2. I buy stew meat, depending on how many will be eating. I buy about 3-4 pounds. I used to cut my own meat in narrow slices and about 2-3 inches long from a cheap chuck roast beef, cutting off fat. Put in bottom of pan/crock pot.

3. Sprinkle with one package dry onion soup mix.

4. Add 1-2 cans of Cream of Mushroom soup, About 1 can for 2 pounds of meat. Add 1/2 can of water per can of soup. The more soup, the better.

5. Add about 1 cup of Burgundy Wine or cooking wine. I also use cooking Sherry. Both are good! If using real wine, be sure to save enough for the pan. This also tenderizes the meat so less tender meats are good for this recipe. (Chuck or round streak).

6. Add one -two boxes of sliced or quartered fresh mushrooms.

7. Pepper to taste.

8. Gently stir it all together to not break up the mushrooms.

9. Turn crock pot on high for about an hour or if using a pan on stove, med heat for about 30 min. Stirring occasionally till all is mixed and soup has no lumps. When it gently bubbles, turn down heat to low, COVER and cook for 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

10. About a half hour before serving, Stir in one to two cups sour cream and gently stir till it is all dissolved.

11. Cook and drain enough wide, flat noodles needed for guests. I usually make a big package of noodles as most will want seconds or thirds! If any is left, Mix it all together to easily heat up for left-overs in microwave. It's usually better the next day! So make enough to have later!!

12. This will be the meal that everyone raves about! Serve with a nice tossed salad and hard rolls. Your guests will talk about it for years. Easy to make for a large crowd by doubling or tripling the recipe! Easy to cook, serve and clean up! Serve Burgundy or Sherry wine with the meal...depending on which one you used in recipe. If you have used the bottle while cooking, be sure to buy extra for guests. Or just serve them this point, you may not even care! You can serve this to children, as the alcohol cooks off. One of the best smells to ever emulate from your kitchen! Beware of neighbors coming to your door at dinner time! Caution....cats have been known to jump on the counters to lick the plates clean if they are not put in the dishwasher!

Mrsgunka offered a recipe that combines two traditional recipes: Boeuf Bourguignon and Boeuf Stroganoff. Thank you, MrsG.

I found a video of a French chef preparing Boeuf Bourguignon in Burgundy, the homeplace of the dish:

[Here's a link to the recipe in pdf format.]

Whichever version you choose, enjoy!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Guess who?

We're exhausted (what's new?). We redecorated the entrance hall and it looks pretty good, better than before, anyway.

After our hard working day, we sat in the garden, having a drink and planning tomorrow's schedule. It's bliss to have some space to chill out in the great outdoors!

Now, to the post: Who's this little person?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Mystery solved

Tumbleweed sent me this picture. It puts a very old mystery to rest...

Thank you, TW!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Spell check

We're incredibly tired after working on the garden for the past four weeks in intense heat. Now we finally had some rain and it has cooled down, so we moved indoors and decided to redecorate our entrance hall...

Today's post is another little gift from Mrsgunka. Thank you, MrsG, it's very funny!

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pee sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

How I got in the closet

View_From_Here sent me this funny video. Funnily enough, it's French!

Thank you, View.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Why our healthcare costs are so high

Here's another funny treat from our Mrsgunka:

Those of us who spend much time in a doctor's office should appreciate this! Doesn't it seem more and more that physicians are running their practices like an assembly line?

Here's what happened to Kevin:

Kevin walked into a doctor's office and the receptionist asked him what he had. Kevin said: 'Shingles.' So she wrote down his name, address, medical insurance number and told him to have a seat.

Fifteen minutes later a nurse's aide came out and asked Kevin what he had... Kevin said, 'Shingles.' So she wrote down his height, weight, a complete medical history and told Kevin to wait in the examining room.

A half hour later a nurse came in and asked Kevin what he had. Kevin said, 'Shingles..' So the nurse gave Kevin a blood test, a blood pressure test, an electrocardiogram, and told Kevin to take off all his clothes and wait for the doctor.

An hour later the doctor came in and found Kevin sitting patiently in the nude and asked Kevin what he had.

Kevin said, 'Shingles.' The doctor asked, 'Where?'

Kevin said, 'Outside on the truck. Where do you want me to unload 'em??'

Thank you, MrsG.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Oops! Nearly forgot to post something!

We worked a bit in the morning, then a bit more in the afternoon and then we hit the beach! It's very hot and after even 10 minutes trying to do anything, we lose the will to live...

Anyway, this morning we went to the builders merchants and bought some paving slabs to finish off the bottom of the stairs. There was a bit of a steep drop, which is gentler now.

The garden is almost done. We're just waiting for the parasol base, will cut the grass, clear all the debris and we're done!

The next job is hanging wallpaper (we bought some wallpaper really cheap at a vide grenier) in the entrance hall. The deadline is the arrival of our son and his girlfriend from Australia on September 3rd. Once again, we need your good vibes for them to sort out some issues... bloody (lovely, much loved) children!

It never ends, eh?

Monday, 20 August 2012


View_From_here sent me this video and I must say it moved me a lot. Watching the children's reactions was particularly enjoyable. Thank you, View.


[Some people on youtube criticized this performance because it was filmed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Sabadell Bank. I understand people being upset about banks these days, but the music is still beautiful and the reactions of the spectators to the unexpected public performance were genuine and quite touching.]

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Dinner with the girls

View_From_Here sent me this:

A group of 15-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner. Finally, they agreed to meet at the Dairy Queen, next door to the Ocean View restaurant, because they had only $6.00 among them and Brad Johnson, the cute boy in Social Studies, lived on that street.

10 years later, the group of 25-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner. Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View restaurant, because the beer was cheap, the restaurant offered free snacks, the band was good, there was no cover charge, and there were lots of cute guys.

10 years later, the group of 35-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner. Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View restaurant, because the cosmos were good, it was right near the gym and, if they went late enough, there wouldn't be too many whiny little kids.

10 years later, the group of 45-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner. Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View restaurant, because the martinis were big, and the waiters wore tight pants and had nice buns.

10 years later, the group of 55-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner. Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View restaurant, because the prices were reasonable, the wine list was good, the restaurant had windows that opened (in case of hot flashes), and they served fish which is good for your cholesterol.

10 years later, the group of 65-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner. Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View restaurant, because the lighting was good, and the restaurant had a senior citizen discounts.

10 years later, the group of 75-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner. Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View restaurant, because the food was not too spicy, and the restaurant was handicapped-accessible.

10 years later, the group of 85-year-old girlfriends discussed where to meet for dinner. Finally, they agreed to meet at the Ocean View restaurant, because they had never been there before.

Thanks, View.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Heart of gold

Mrsgunka strikes again:

The United Way realized that it had never received a donation from the city's most successful lawyer. So a United Way volunteer paid the lawyer a visit in his lavish office.

The volunteer opened the meeting by saying, "Our research shows that even though your annual income is over two million dollars, you don't give a penny to charity. Wouldn't you like to give something back to your community through the United Way?"

The lawyer thinks for a minute and says, "First, did your research also show you that my mother is dying after a long, painful illness and she has huge medical bills that are far beyond her ability to pay?"

Embarrassed, the United Way rep mumbles, "Uh . . . no, I didn't know that."

"Secondly," says the lawyer, "did it show that my brother, a disabled veteran, is blind and confined to a wheelchair and unable to support his wife and six children?"

The stricken United Way rep begins to stammer an apology, but is cut off again.

"Thirdly, did your research also show you that my sister's husband died in a dreadful car accident, leaving her penniless with a mortgage and three children, one of whom is disabled and another who has learning disabilities requiring an array of private tutors?"

The humiliated United Way rep, completely beaten, says, "I'm so sorry, I had no idea."

And the lawyer says,

"So. . . if I didn't give any money to them, what the hell makes you think I'd give any to you?"

Thank you, MrsG.

Friday, 17 August 2012

It's hell to be old

We worked all morning and half of the afternoon. Then it got much too hot, so we went to the beach!

Today's joke come courtesy of View_From_Here. Thanks, View.

An 85-year-old man was requested by his doctor for a sperm count as part of his physical exam.

The doctor gave the man a jar and said, 'Take this jar home and bring back a semen sample tomorrow.'

The next day the 85-year-old man reappeared at the doctor's office and gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day.

The doctor asked what happened and the man explained, 'Well, doc, it's like this -- first I tried with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but still nothing.

My wife tried to help. She tried with her mouth, first with the teeth in, then with her teeth out, still nothing.'We even called up Arleen, the lady next door and she tried too, first with both hands, then an armpit, and she even tried squeezin' it between her knees, but still nothing.'

The doctor was shocked! 'You asked your neighbor?' The old man replied, 'Yep, none of us could get the darn jar open.'

[Happy anniversary, Mr & Mrs Spike!]

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Good news

I don't know if you remember, but a while ago I asked you to send good thoughts to a dear friend who was very ill, hanging in there by a thread. It worked! He and his wife are staying at our friend Hilary's (in the next village) for a few days. We saw them yesterday and he looks great. Today we have plans for a day at the beach with them, so the garden will have to wait...

Here's a quick funny picture to celebrate our good mood:

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A day at the races

We're back from the races, 25€ richer! It was my very first time at the races and I really enjoyed it. We picked up a poster, but it's too big for my scanner, even trying to do it in halves, so Peter made me stick it to the wall and photograph it. He was adamant that you should see it. He even thought about going back to the stand where we got it, help ourselves to a load of them and send to all of you by post! It was starting to rain quite hard and we would have arrived home with a lot of papier mache, so we passed on the idea...

There you are, courtesy of Peter:

[I'm sorry it's bit out of focus. Piroutte kept bumping my arm while I was trying to take the photos... this is the best of the lot.]

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Too hot and tired for a proper post...

We have just arrived back from a day of shopping for food and some more bits and pieces for the garden. Exhausted doesn't start to describe how we feel. It's incredibly hot and humid, very tiring...

Tomorrow a big bunch of us Brits are heading to the races in Pompadour, loaded with hampers for a big picnic and to try our luck on the horses. It will be nice to have a day off from all the hard work in the garden. Hey, we might even win something to offset the expense of building the steps, buying plants, etc.

Chat away, my friends. I have to cook some chicken and make salads for tomorrow's picnic, so it's ta-ta for now.

Pompadour racecourse

Monday, 13 August 2012

We have steps!

We managed to (almost) finish the garden steps. We found a bargain nursery yesterday and were very surprised to discover the owners are Brits!

I took the photos from the patio area, so there will be more pots dotted around to make the patio a bit more colourful. The plants on the steps look a bit stiff, as they haven't had time to relax and become accustomed to their new home.

When the patio starts looking decent, with table, chairs, parasol and some plants, I'll post more photos.

We are pleased with results so far. There are still bits and bobs to be done around the steps, like planting tallish shrubs to the right of them to hide the ugly concrete blocks, but that will have to wait a while. The important thing is that we have easier access to the garden and it looks much, much nicer than before...

(I didn't plant anything in the chamber pot in the end. We simply filled it with sand and use it as an ashtray.)

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The ostrich

Today's joke came from Mrsgunka:

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asks them for their orders. The man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke," and turns to the ostrich, "What's yours?" "I'll have the same," says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order. "That will be $9.40 please." The man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment. The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, "A hamburger, fries and a coke."

The ostrich says, "I'll have the same."

Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.

This becomes routine until the two enter again. "The usual?" asks the waitress. "No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato and a salad," says the man. "Same," says the ostrich. Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, "That will be $32.62." Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and Places it on the table.

The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. "Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?"

"Well," says the man, "several years ago I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there."

"That's brilliant!" says the waitress. "Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!"

"That's right... whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there," says the man.

The waitress asks, "What's with the ostrich?"

The man sighs, pauses and answers, "My second wish was for a tall chick with a big ass and long legs who agrees with everything I say.."

Thank you, MrsG.

Friday, 10 August 2012

NBC Olympic bloopers

These are very funny, courtesy of View_From_Here.

1. Weightlifting commentator: "This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning during her warm up and it was amazing."

2. Dressage commentator: "This is really a lovely horse and I speak from personal experience since I once mounted her mother."

3. Paul Hamm, Gymnast: "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father."

4. Boxing Analyst: "Sure there have been injuries, and even some deaths in boxing, but none of them really that serious."

5. Softball announcer: "If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again."

6. Basketball analyst: "He dribbles a lot and the opposition doesn't like it. In fact you can see it all over their faces."

7. At the rowing medal ceremony: "Ah, isn't that nice, the wife of the IOC president is hugging the cox of the British crew."

8. Soccer commentator: "Julian Dicks is everywhere. It's like they've got eleven Dicks on the field."

9. Tennis commentator: "One of the reasons Andy is playing so well is that, before the final round, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them...Oh my God, what have I just said?"

Thank you, View.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


We've been busy, busy busy! So I'll post a recipe my sister sent me yesterday. She said it's absolutely delicious.

French Yogurt Cake


Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


8 1/2 x 4 1/4-inch loaf pan


Preheat oven to 350°. Coat pan with vegetable oil spray. Dust with flour; tap out excess.

Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.

Using your fingers, rub sugar with lemon zest in a large bowl until sugar is moist. Add yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract; whisk to blend. Fold in dry ingredients just to blend.

Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50–55 minutes.

Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto rack; let it cool completely.

The recipe came from Bon Appetit.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Two is a crowd

MD sent me a collection of unusual photos, including this one:

I did a bit of searching and found out the population has doubled recently.

Buford was founded in 1866, during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad in Wyoming. At its peak, the town boasted a population of 2000.

Don Sammons moved to Buford in 1980 with his wife and son. In 1992, he purchased the town. His wife died in 1995, and his son moved away around 2007, making him Buford's only resident.

The town, consisting of a convenience store, gas station, and modular home on 4 hectares (9.9 acres) of land, was put up for sale after Sammons decided to move closer to his son.

The town was put up for auction on April 5, 2012, with the highest bid of $900,000 by two unidentified Vietnamese men.

I focused on just one of the pictures because I can't imagine living in a place like this by myself or with just one other person!

I'll publish the other photos another time. Thank you, MD.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Excited about the garden

I'm late again! We have been incredibly busy today, but it turned out to be a very good day.

We picked up the rest of the concrete blocks, then our neighbour offered to go with us to collect the timber in his van, so all the materials for the steps are now on site.

It's been very hot today, so after all the shifting of heavy stuff we went to a "vide grenier," which is like a yard sale, but communal. People display their bits and bobs around the village centre, etc. We picked up seven different containers which we're going to use for planting some pretty things. They include a handwash basin, some conventional pots, an old colander and a chamber pot!

I took this picture and I'm so sorry it's out of focus, but you'll get the idea.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Quick joke

I'm late with today's post... We bought the concrete blocks and have been busy carrying them to the garden. All is well, no injured backs, but we have worked up an appetite and should sleep very soundly tonight.

Here's a short and sweet from Mrsgunka:

The wife left a note on the fridge:

"It's not working. Can't take it anymore!!! Gone to stay with my mother."

I opened the fridge, the light came on and the beer was cold....... "What the hell is she talking about?"

Thank you, MrsG.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

I couldn't resist!

View_From_Here sent me a blonde joke but I couldn't resist adapting it a little bit and making it about a famous brunette:

After having some trouble with passwords and secret questions, a certain former half-politician decided to follow password instructions to the letter. Better to be safe than sorry...

This is her new password:


When asked by an adviser why she had such a long password, she rolled her eyes and said:

"I know, it's unflippingbelievable! It has to be at least 8 characters and include at least one capital. Sheeesh..."

Thank you for the inspiration, View.

Friday, 3 August 2012

No giggling!

We haven't had a joke in a while. This one was sent to me by Mrsgunka:

A nurse got a new job at a new hospital. Her boss thought that she knew everything about the job, except for ONE THING:

"Never laugh at a patient, no matter what."

"Of course I won't laugh," the nurse said. "I'm a professional nurse. In over twenty years I've never laughed at a patient."

Three days later, the hospital received a new patient, who was assigned to this new nurse.

"I have a problem with my sexual organs," the man said.

"Okay, just drop your trousers for me," the nurse responded.

He proceeded to drop his trousers, revealing the tiniest penis the nurse had ever seen. Length and width, it couldn't have been bigger than an AAA battery.

Unable to control herself, the nurse started giggling, then almost fell to the floor laughing. A few minutes later she was able to regain her composure.

"I'm so sorry," said the nurse. "I don't know what came over me. On my honor as a nurse and a lady, I promise it won't happen again. Now tell me, what seems to be the problem?"

"It's swollen," he replied.

Thank you, MrsG.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Very cheerful

In a new craze which is sweeping America, joggers are covered in paint as they attempt to complete a 5km run.

It looks lovely! It also looks remarkably like Holi, in India:

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A pair of duhs need help...

I'm sorry today's post is so late. We've been looking into the cheapest possible way to make a staircase for the garden.

Perhaps somebody could help? The height from the ground to the top is around 1.3m (just over 50 inches). The width is around 6ft 3 in. It seems the cheapest option is to make something out of timber.

We're stumped!