Category Archives: Random thoughts

United Kingdom and the Eurovision Song Contest

This weekend sees Eurovision head to Turin in Italy, after Måneskin, an Italian rock band won and the UK, represented by James Newman, came a disappointing last with ‘nul points’. The only other time the UK received this honour was when Liverpool duo, Jemini performed Cry Baby in 2003, but we haven’t always done this bad in Eurovision, here are some of the highlights…

Puppet On A String – Sandie Shaw

The UK won the Eurovision Song Contest for the very first time with Puppet On A String in 1967, sung by Sandie Shaw, when the show was held in Vienna.

Sandie appeared on a TV show and sung six songs and although she said Puppet On A String was her least favourite it was chosen to represent the UK.

The song became her third UK number one and topped the charts all around Europe.

The song won comfortably, collecting nearly double the points as the second placed song.

Boom Bang-a-Bang – Lulu

Our second victory came in 1969 with Lulu singing Boom Bang-a-Bang in Madrid.

This year was unique in that there were four joint winners: the UK, Spain, Netherlands and France.

The single made number 2 in the UK charts and was a major hit throughout Europe.

Save Your Kisses For Me – Brotherhood Of Man

We had to wait until 1976 at The Hague in The Netherlands before we won it again with Save Your Kisses For Me by The Brotherhood Of Man.

It was awarded 12 points by seven countries and finished with 164 points, compared to second placed French entry with 147 points. It stayed at number one in the UK for six weeks and became one of the biggest selling singles of the year.

The song’s lyrics described a man’s feelings as he leaves for work each day, leaving his loved one at home and it’s not until the final line that we find out that it is in fact his three year old child.

Making Your Mind Up – Bucks Fizz

In was another foursome who won in 1981 with Making Your Mind Up.

Bucks Fizz had only been formed two months earlier and won the BBC’s A Song For Europe to represent the UK.

Their performance is probably best remembered for the girls having their skirts whipped off by the boys, revealing a shorter skirt underneath.

Making Your Mind Up reached number one in t he UK and remained there for three weeks, they had a run of 13 UK hits after Eurovision.

Love Shine A Light – Katrina and the Waves

A long 16 years after Buck Fizz’s win, along came Katrina and the Waves who won it in 1997 with Love Shine A Light.

It was a last minute decision for this song to be entered in the Great British Song Contest.

It was written as an anthem for The Samaritans and members, when they heard it, declared that it was the type of song that would win Eurovision.

Love Shine A Light received an average of 9.458 points per country, the third-highest in the history of Eurovision with Save Your Kisses For Me in first place with 9.647 per country. The song scored an impressive 227 points and after the fourth country had voted, remained in the top position throughout the voting.

Honourable Mentions

The UK has finished in second place 15 times since the contest started in 1957, the last time being in 1998 and Imaani with Where Are You? Our track record hasn’t been brilliant since then, but I have faith in our entry for this year: Sam Ryder and Space Man, it’s a brilliant song and is in the top four of the bookie’s favourites.

I’ll be watching on Saturday, no doubt amazed at some of the acts, not understanding what’s going on with others, but enjoying whatever Eurovision throws at us this year!


Maybe a blog about doors isn’t what you would normally expect to see, but I think doors are fascinating. Growing up, our council house was much the same as every other council house on the estate, but for one major difference, it had a yellow front door! Our house stood out amongst the white and black doors, the yellow door shone like a beacon directing me home after a day playing out or indeed, a night playing out. Thinking about it, I think that’s the reason my favourite colour is yellow.

My front door!

Throughout my married life, I have had a few houses, together with a selction of front doors, most were non-descript, but today, I have a new front door, a navy blue one! My house is complete!

When you think about it, there are lots of important front doors, whether they be famous or fictional, so as I love a list, here’s my top five front doors…..

Number One

10, Downing Street

This is probably the most famous door in England, maybe even the world. An interesting fact is that it hasn’t always been black, in the early 20th century it was painted green.

There are two identical doors which are swapped over whenever there is some maintenance to be done on them. The lion’s head doorknocker and brass letterbox date back to the 1770s.

Number Two

The Holy Door of St. Peter Basilica

This Holy Door in Vatican City is unlocked by the Pope only once every 25 years to celebrate the Catholic church’s holy years (like the Great Jubilee in 2000). These bronze and sacred gates have graced the famous destination since 1949, decorated with scenes of man’s sins. The door is sealed from the inside with a brick wall to prevent entry. It was designed by Vico Consorti and cast by the Ferdinando Marinelli Artistic Foundry of Florence. When it is time to open it, the Pope strikes the brick wall with a silver hammer and the wall is then fully demolisted so that pilgrims can enter through it.

Number Three

The Columbus Doors

These doors are situated at the entrance to the Rotunda in the US Capitol Building in Washington DC. It stands at nearly 17 ft tall and weighs at 0ver 20,000 pounds. They were created by Randloph Rogers and are remiscent of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s work of The Gates of Paradise in Florence. The pictures are based on the narrative of The Life and Voyages of Christoher Columbus.

Number Four

Sherlock Holmes – 221B Baker Street, London

This is the front door to perhaps the most insightful and clever detective of all time: Sherlock Holmes.

Technically, this front door belonged to Mrs Hudson, as Sherlock lived in the flat upstairs, which he shared with Dr. Watson for many years, before Dr. Watson was married.

The door is actually the entrance to the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Baker Street.

Number Five

Bilbo Baggins

In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a Hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Opening sentence of The Hobbit, “An Unexpected Party

The entrance to Bilbo Baggins’ hobbit hole, Bag End, in JRR Tolkein’s epic novel The Lord of the Rings. Tolkein took the name from a real-life farmhouse in Dormston, England, where his aunt lived.

Honorable Mentions:

This is an honourable mention because it is the back of a door – of course, the door in Friends, which had the iconic picture frame around the peep hole.

Not technically a door, but a gate to perhaps one of the most famous theme parks ever!

Again, not a door, but an entrance and it’s the entrance to the happiest place on Earth!

For those of you who are especially eagle-eyed, you will have noticed that the feature image for this blog is the “Doors of Dublin”. The story is that the famous writer, George Moore, lived next door to another famous writer, Oliver St John Gogarty. Their front doors were both painted the same neutral colour and so to discourage a drunken Gogary from mistakenly trying to enter his house, Moore painted his door green. Obviously thinking this was a good idea, Gogarty followed suit and painted his front door red. This then snowballed until Dublin was filled with different coloured front doors. The Irish Tourism Board created a collage out of all the doors and there were so many requests that a poster was commissioned, which has since become an icon of Ireland!

Lockdown 2020

We are now into week ….. (fill in the blank) of lockdown.

When this all started,  hubby and I decided that we would spend the time wisely, perhaps start a new hobby, be creative in the kitchen, read books and get fit.

Eclairs hubby made – you put on pounds just looking at them!

It started out so well, hubby and I cooked up delights in the kitchen, chocolate eclairs, scones, quiche, chicken and bacon pie, strawberry gateaux, but soon it seemed like a lot of work and it duly fizzled out.

I decided to take up knitting it being a mixture of something that a nanny should do and it’s the latest trend to do, so I made myself a scarf.  Now this was more like it, so I decided to make a jumper, cue lots of cursing and sighing as the stitches got too tight and the wool knotted, so that was put aside.

The one thing that has been constant in this lockdown though is the virtual quiz. We play twice a week, on a Saturday night with friends and a Sunday night with the family. If nothing else, I feel my general knowledge has come on leaps and bounds and we have now also discovered bingo! A friend has set up a virtual bingo game every Friday night, we’ve done quite well so far, winning both times we have done it!

Another constant is Facetime, I feel like I speak more to my family and friends now than I did before all this happened. It’s especially good for the older members of the family, once you have talked them through how to switch the camera on, that is!

I have found a new hobby and it’s one I would never have thought of if some friends hadn’t told me about it, it’s watercolour painting. Some of my efforts are above. I find it quite relaxing and theraputic and so far, so good, I haven’t given up, (yet)!

Another thing that has helped to get me through this lockdown has been the humour, I love the quotes, etc., that I read about lockdown and I have highlighted them on my own Facebook pages, It’s Raining Cats and Blogs and Menopause Mayhem as these below:

All in all lockdown has had it’s ups and downs, not seeing my grandson is a definite down as he is at that age when he’s learning new things every day, but we hope that in the near future we will be able to visit, something that we took for granted not so many weeks ago.

Hopefully we’ll soon be moving to a new phase, one where we have a bit more freedom and one thing is for certain, I won’t be taking the simple things in life like going going out for a meal, going to the pictures or even food shoppoing for granted again!


Friday the 13th – why is this day thought to be unlucky?


So it’s Friday 13th today, which fills some people with a feeling of dread and others who treat it as any other normal day, but where did this superstition originate?

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

The origins of this infamous day is supposedly from the bible, that Christ was thought to have been crucified on a Friday and at the Last Supper, there were 13 guests present and the apostle, Judas, who betrayed Jesus with the Kiss of Judas, was the 13th person seated at the table. 

Another suggestion is that it originates from an incident on Friday, 13 October, 1307, when Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar, subjected them to torture and force confessions out of them.  There was also a novel published in 1907 by Thomas W. Lawson called Friday, the Thirteenth, which was about an unscrupulous broker who takes advantage of the Friday 13th superstition to create a Wall Street panic on that date. This could have helped spread the superstition…

It has been said that the fear of number 13 is linked to 12 being a number of perfection. There are 12 months in a year, 12 hours on a clock and 12 zodiac signs, 12 Days of Chistmas, making 13 seem like an irrational number.

friday-113th-2The scientific name for the fear of Friday is paraskavedekatriaphobia (phew) which is made up of the Greek words, paraskevi meaning Friday and dekatreis, meaning 13.

The number 13 is often avoided by hotels and airpots, with hotels often missing out floor 13 and airlines have no row 13 on their airplanes. Some airplanes that fly to counries such as Italy and Brazil, do not have a row 17 instead, as this number is considered unlucky in these countries.

So if you try to avoid Friday 13th by staying indoors, or you aren’t worried if you happen to walk under a ladder on this day, just remember that you are no more likely to have an accident on this day, than any other!



Z Nation versus The Walking Dead

Warning: This may contain spoilers for The Walking Dead and Z Nation!!

These are two of the best Zombie Apocalypse TV series, in my opinion, with Fear the Walking Dead coming a steady third and although they both tackle the Zombie Apocalypse, they approach it from completely different directions…

The Walking Dead is well known for its grittiness, the plotlines are sometimes dark and TWD invests a lot of time in developing its characters, so that when they meet their demise, it’s far more impactful to the viewer.

Z Nation, on the other hand, has outrageous plotlines and insane zombie deaths, including those killed by the Cheese Wheel as shown in this video.



Talking about zombies, both shows have the same zombie “Bite of Death” but if you had to give an award to the best zombies, that would go to ZN for their many different types of zombie: the Blasters (nuclear and which could run really fast), Phytos, (half zombie, half plant), Radioactive zombies.  Another difference is that the Z Nation zombies can run, which speeds up the action, but personally I’d prefer the Walking Dead zombies as I can’t run that fast!!

Warren versus Rick


My heart will forever be with Rick, he was the leader in The Walking Dead, everything he did was for the group, everyone looked up to him.  His job was to keep everyone safe, lead them into battle and ultimately create a safe world for them all to grow old in.

But then there’s Warren in Z Nation, if ever you needed a model for Girl Power, then she was it.  Tough, dependable and always there when needed.  She was tasked with getting Murphy, the only human with an antidote for the zombie virus to the CDC Lab, and boy, she was never gonna give up on that!

Murphy vesus Eugene

Murphy with his daughter

This may be a bit of a tenuous link, but both had either the means to save the entire human race or said that they knew the cure to save the human race.

Murphy had undeniable proof, having been bitten several times, with the bitemarks to prove it and had lived to tell the tale; Eugene said that he had to get to Washington DC as he had the cure for the zombie virus, but unfortunately for him, he was found out to only be saying this so he could get safe passage to Washington DC.

Murphy, on the other hand, grew from strength to strength and could even control the zombies with his mind.


Neegan and Lucille

Where The Walking Dead’s storyline was sometimes a long drawn out affair, remember series two on the farm where they seemed to spend the whole time searching for Sophia, the story goes from initially having to battle zombies to later on the main enemy was other humans and the zombies were an unwelcome distration.  But saying that, I loved Neegan with Lucille, the Governor and Alpha and her Wisperers, so villians aren’t necessarily a bad thing !

Z Nation had an overarching storyline, it did sometimes have ‘filler’ episodes which were much more tongue-in-cheek than normal, but the group’s main objective was to use Murphy to find a cure for the zombie virus.

The Walking Dead had more of an apocalypse feel to it – they ran out of bullets and petrol and grew their own vegetables.

In Z Nation there was Z-Weed, apocalypse weed and the last season included zombies that could talk, eating Z-Bizkuits to keep them happy.  There was also a neverending supply of bullets and most abandoned cars had petrol in them!


Whilst The Walking Dead will always be my first love, Z Nation was a fun-filled ride with lots of giggles and imaginative zombie deaths. Z Nation has finished with its fifth series and I will miss it, TWD goes marching on into its 10th series and I will be there rooting for the characters that we know and love!!

Times when The Walking Dead was referenced in Z Nation:

Puppies and kittens: This phrase has been used by the characters in Z Nation a lot, they use it to describe zombies, it was also said by Rick to Glenn in the opening episode of The Walking Dead.

Neagan and Lucielle: In an episode entitled “Heart of Darkness” Hector makes the comment, “I’ve heard of someone wrapping barbed wire around a baseball bat….. but never a whole zombie,” an obvious allusion to Neegan.

Glenn and the dumpster:  In one scene in Season 3, the Trump spinoff looks under a dumpster for somebody and says, “Nobody could have survived that!”  Maybe a nod to the Glenn “death”.

Time off from your mobile

Every morning I take my dog, Tia, for a walk. Not too far, just about two miles a day, through the woods and along the beach.

This morning I was walking through the woods and I had this sudden feeling that something wasn’t quite right. I checked my back left pocket of my jeans, nothing there, checked my right one, just my front door key, I checked my left pocket of my jacket, poo bags in that one, my right pocket, nope nothing there. I racked my brains, “Where was the last time I saw it?”

I suddenly remembered that I had left it on the window sill of the bathroom….  oh no, I’VE LEFT MY MOBILE AT HOME!

Up until discovering the loss of my mobile, I had been happily walking with Tia, but now I know I can’t use my phone, it’s a different story.

Suddenly these thoughts creep into my head, “I need to check my emails,” I can’t do that! “I need to look at my text messages for work that has been sent to me,” I can’t.  “That would be a lovely picture of Tia for Instagram,” nope, not happening. I can let everyone know about my lovely walk on Facebook, no can do. I need to phone my hubby about something that was happening later that day, again, not possible.

I give myself a talking to, “Look, what’s the problem? Why don’t you just enjoy the peace and quiet?” So that’s what I do. I look at the trees, smell the freshness of an early morning and wonder at Mother Nature. I look at Tia running through the woods, tail wagging, excitedly following a recent scent and I know she has the right idea, just live for the moment and don’t worry about what you might be missing in Facebook or Twitter land.

I finish my walk and retrieve my phone, steeling myself for the barrage of missed phone calls, unread mail and messages. I look at it, it’s blank, nothing, so actually nobody missed me whilst I was on my walk and the world kept turning!

environment forest grass leaves

Quote: “I miss those days when you could push somebody into a swimming pool and not worry about their mobile.”




The tendency for incorrect perception of a stimulus as an object, pattern or meaning known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns or hearing hidden messages in music. – Wikipedia

If you’ve looked up at the clouds in the sky and thought you could see a face or an old lady, then you are looking at pareidolia.

The science behind it is that the human brain is uniquely wired to recognise faces, so that even if there is a slight suggestion of facial features, the brain will automatically interpret it as a face.

Not everyone can see faces in everyday things, but if you can, it’s said to be the sign of a well-wired brain.

car-eyesPerhaps the most common form of pareidolia is seeing faces in the front of cars.

Buildings are another popular choice, with lots of examples available:

Another phenomenon is people seeing faces burnt into slices of toast, the most popular being the face of Jesus, followed by Elvis. But don’t worry, if you would like to have toast with the face of Jesus every time, you can order a toaster that does this from Amazon:

Burnt Impressions: The Jesus Toaster

The subject of pareidolia was even mentioned in Williams Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet with this exchange between Hamlet and Polonius:

HAMLET:     Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in the shape of a camel:
POLONIUS:  By th’Mass and ’tis, like a camel indeed.
HAMLET:     Methinks it is a weasel.
POLONIUS:  It is backed like a weasel.
HAMLET:     Or a whale.
POLONIUS:  Very like a whale.

So the next time you’re washing your hands or walking down a street, keep a look out for those faces or better still take a picture!


Clever names for businesses…


I was at Hampton Court Palace the other week to watch Tears for Fears (a very good concert by the way) and I noticed a trade stand selling wraps, the name of this company, Bohemiun Wrapsody, made me giggle and it got me wondering what other names for shops people have come up with…

The first one I found was a flower shop based in Milton Keynes called –

Back to the Fuchsia

You can visit their website.

Kudos to whoever thought of this name!

A company who specialises in quality bathrooms, wet rooms and tilings, what else could they call themselves but-

Bonny Tiler

They have a very professional website. 

There are quite a few companies around that use this name, some of which are spelt Bonnie, (the correct way for the singer), but I liked this one as they say on their website:

Bonny Tiler is a fun name for a company serious about making you smile!

How about a carpet cleaning business named:

Spruce Springclean

If you need your carpets cleaned, visit their website.

This carpet cleaning shop is based in Cornwall and was named the best business name in Britain.

A locksmith who is based in Portsmouth (near my home town) and is called:

Surelock Homes

For a secure home, visit their website.

A worthy runner up to the best named business in Britain, well done the man who thought of this!

The prize for the best wine bar name goes to (drum roll please):

Planet of the Grapes

planet of the grapes.PNG
For a tasty dinner and a glass of wine, visit their website. 

A clever name on so many levels, a wine bar, shop and restaurant in four different locations.

Honorable mentions should also go to:

The  kebab van named after Jason Donovan.

A fish and chip shop in Wales.

It does what it says on the sign!


Perhaps these businesses aren’t as silly as they seem, it has been proven that people remember quirky, unusual names more than they do the rather formal ones, so i guess the jokes on them…

D-Day 75th Anniversary

Screenshot 2019-06-05 at 07.53.09

Whilst clearing out our attic we found this account written by my step-dad of his involvement with the D-Day Landings – I think on the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord it is a good time to share it.  

George William Bishop : my account of what happened to me on D-Day and coming up to Normandy.

First of all we were stationed up in Nightingale Woods next to the golf course at the end of Shirley Road. We were preparing and getting the vehicles ready for the big day. We left when almost ready for our destination in Southampton on June 1st to go to the docks to board the landing crafts.

They took us down that night into Netley Hospital at dusk. That was the last building I recognised when we left before going down the Solent.
We stayed near the ??? Line near to Beaulieu for 5 days. It was very rough weather and most of us were sick.

On the night of the 5th June we left to go to Normandy, across the Channel arriving in the very early hours of the 6th June. But did not go on to the beach until our own battle ships behind us had finished firing over our heads at the bunkers to silence the big guns on the shore.

When it came to our turn we started to approach the shore but the sea was so rough that our raft had a job to get in for us to disembark.

The name of the beach we landed on was called ‘Gold’. The American seamen were in charge of our craft and looked after us very well. I was in Durham Light Infantry, 50 Div. We managed to get ashore after a while, our party was an advance party that day. We managed to get up in between the barbed wire barricades. Quite a bit of fire was going over our heads. We managed to get past the tall building that stood on its own above and to the right. We managed to get inland and took to the cornfields to keep away from the minefields as nearly all the roads were mined.

We ran into quite a bit of fire along the way. We went about 12-14 miles that first day, it was a very long day. I shall never forget it as long as I live. We certainly put up with a lot.
Anyway, carrying on from there, the other side of Caen, there was heavy fighting. One big orchard we were in, our tanks were back to back facing outwards firing at the Germans who were coming towards us in their tanks and on foot by their hundreds. Two of us were firing the 3 inch mortars at the enemy at the same time, for a long, long time, non-stop. It was a real battle going on

They were actually filming the battle from our own tanks. After the war they showed this film of D-Day in the cinema. This was the last time this film would be shown as it was put in a capsule and buried in the ground for the future, to let people know what happened. Actually I am on this film, I saw myself on the film firing the mortar at the Germans.
We did stop the Germans and drove them back, those that were left as a lot were killed that day.

A week after that I had a ??? of mortar so I was sent back to England so that was the last action I was in. I was 21 then. I am 71 years of age now and struck down with Parkinsons Disease and angina – this is a battle I can’t win but I try to put a brave face on it.


Baddies – do they get a bad deal?

war battle middlage

Whilst watching a film with a particularly high body count the other night, I got to wondering, given a life choice, who on earth would choose to be a baddie?

Hopping over to Movie Body Counts website, yes, there really is a website that counts the amount of body counts in a move, I find that top of the list is Lord of the Rings: Return of the King where there are 836 body counts and they even break them down into sub sections:lotr

  • Hobbits: 2
  • Humans: 147
  • Uruk-hai and Orcs: 524
  • Trolls: 2
  • Rohirim: 123
  • Sauthrons: 32
  • Nazguls: 6



Honorable mentions go to:

Rambo: 247, Dawn of the Dead: 175 and You Only Live Twice: 91.

So, going back to the start of an up and coming film baddie or villain’s career, how do they actually get into this line of business?  Do they go down to their local Job Centre? Do they search online? Or do they sign up with an agency who specialises in supplying baddies?  I wonder what the name for these agencies would be, Villains for Hire, perhaps or even The Big Baddie Company? If you were to search online, what would the advertisement read, something like this…


I would also think that whoever decides on this as their career choice would need a lot of patience as there seems to be a lot of hanging around in corridors and outside in gardens and then suddenly they find themselves under attack where they are either knocked out unconscious or killed…

And talking of being killed, I’m assuming that every baddie or villain has a family, kids, a significant other? I imagine a family sat at home around a table set for tea with the significant other constantly looking at their watch and then the door, saying to the little ones, “It’s all right, daddy will be home soon.”