Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TelAl - Day 3; Sun

07:30

The view from our room as we rise for breakfast.

10:30

By the pool, in the sun.

14:30

Lunch, by the pool; I'm unable to eat it all.

17:30

The view from the room. I've come to rest, fatigued from the sun.

19:30

The view from the room; still people on the beach.

Today I finished reading John Sutherland's How to Read a Novel and started reading Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. In between, in the room I'm still reading Sum, by David Eagleman. I think I'm at about afterlife vision no. 13.

Monday, June 29, 2009

TelAl - Day 2; Shawarma



Here, in Israel, Sunday is the first day of the week. I know that’s also true in the UK. But here Sunday is the first working day of the week.

Most places are closed on the Shabbat. It is for that reason I’ve had to hire a car for 2 extra days (during which it will stay in the garage).

Some pictures from Sunday:




So, to catch up:

Day -1:

I spent the night in Paris, went to bed hearing Michael Jackson had suffered cardiac arrest, then the first tentative reports he had died.

Started reading Into the Silent Land by Paul Broks (as recommended by Dr. W).

Day 0; Champagne and Goocha:

[I break off here because there are some famous people in the lounge, causing a fuss. We may have an author, an Israeli actress and another, and I think the author’s boyfriend (though it could be his brother). They are having official photos taken. It’s strange to have no idea who they are, though the author looks kind of familiar in a Jewish-American type way)]

Delicious dry-crisp champagne at 7am local time in the AirFrance lounge; a more pleasant way to appreciate a one and a half hour delay).

Then the 3rd degree at Israel immigration. That’s fairly typical. It’s harder to get into Israel than it is America.

Finished reading Into the Silent Land by Paul Broks (as recommended by Dr. W). Broks tries to divine and place the self that occupies the body. Is it more than the sum of neurological electric activity.

Started reading Sum, which turns out a more than suitable companion to Broks.

Day 1; beach

Day 2; Shawarma

I forget that it’s Sunday. It really feels like Monday. But that’s fine, because when Monday comes it feels like a bonus.

Xfe was working locally. I went to see a musical revue at 11am. However it was sold out. Over 300 IDF recruits (with guns and rifles, and trays of fruit) were there to see it.

Went to the beach instead for a swim; the water is so warm here-around 26C. Then I did some shopping. I went to the same place that I bought my IDF issue Crocks from to buy another pair (I use them as slippers at home). Here, they have to be the most pleasant and comfortable footwear; far superior, in my opinion, to sandals.

Then it was the hotel pool, transferring to the Towers Executive room when it became too hot.

After some cool wine and nibbles I went back to the pool until around 5pm when I forayed into town with the big camera, and waited for mon C.



Then my first, delicious taste of shawarma this visit. Yum. But I couldn’t eat it all.

Jackson-the mystery of the white children

Looking at the Jerusalem Post I’m left asking: why are Michael Jackson’s 3 children white?

Arms Sales

One thing I always notice in the Sheraton Towers lounge is the number of arms sellers, working with US govt., and outwith. Here they are doing their deals.

Last year it was full of soldiers enjoying some shore leave before being shipped out to Iraq. None, so far, this year (hopefully for happier reasons).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

TelAl Day 0/1; Beach

Yes, it's nice to be back in Tel Aviv!



It's 11.39am (UK time-I never change my watch and as a result I am forever anxious about missing appointments). That means it's 1.39pm here in Tel Aviv. I know because it's too hot for me outside (34C), and even if it was not, the sun is too strong for my fair Scottish skin.

So, once again, I've retreated to the executive lounge in Sheraton Towers for the free cocktails, wine, nibbles...

And, of course, the air conditioning. This year, there's also free Wi-Fi. I should think so too.

There are some rabbis a few tables away talking about philosophy, therapy, life being meaningful- vs-life being futile. Plus ça change (just look at what I was doing this time last year).

Oh, La La

Our favourite beach is la la beach(that's what we call it because of the main bar there-La La Land; I think it's actually Gordon beach). They have pleasing waiters who come tend to your every need. Push the "B" button in the lift, exit the hotel and you're there.

Xfe speaks almost fluent Hebrew (he studied linguistics at Uni and speaks 5 or 6 languages). But across town the waiters like to show-off their American English. This led to a very interesting and fun exchange for me) between Xfe and uber-hot Israeli waiter on Friday night at my favourite restaurant, Goocha.



Free access has gone; having to work on loung PC, so more later. Shalom.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Holiday #2

As you read this I'll be en route to Tel Aviv for a 17-day austerity break; a much needed holiday after a gruelling 9 days in the office following my week in the sun in St-Tropez.

In fact I'm probably sipping a glass of champagne having turned left on entering the aeroplane to Ben Gurion.

Basically it's a repeat of last year's holiday.

And it is austerity because (a) I'm flying Air France - no beds (b) it's all on Xfe's air miles - I only paid for the taxes and (c) even though we are staying in a club-room in Sheraton Towers Tel Aviv (on the beach), it's being paid for by Xfe's work (he's working the first week I'm there and thereafter on his points). Cheaper than staying at home (my week in St-Trop cost me less than 50euro which was spending while we were there).

What it does mean is two weeks on the beach in TA and 3 days at the dead sea, so really more of the same.

beach

Thursday, June 25, 2009

For Sale


2 Michael Jackson tickets upcoming London O2 concert. No refunds.

Friday am update: loved Miss GG contemplating who's next. Let it not be Liza. Take Liz.
BTW, do you think Michael Jackson is really is dead? Is Michael Jackson really dead or is it an elaborate scam to escape his mountain of debt?

Is Michael Jackson really dead?

Let's not forget Farrah, the original Angel.

Actress Farrah Fawcett, who became an icon of 1970s US television, has died of cancer in Los Angeles aged 62, her spokesman has confirmed.

Fawcett is best known for starring in Charlie's Angels, and in later years for hard-hitting TV and stage roles.

Her battle with illness was chronicled in the television documentary Farrah's Story earlier this year.

Her partner Ryan O'Neal said: "After a long and brave battle with cancer, our beloved Farrah has passed away."


Absinthe Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

Well you find me having happy holiday thoughts like this one:



Except the sun will be shining. And though my mind, now in holiday mode, may be wondering this is actually where you find me, right here, right now. So any readers around about- do come over and say hello. I'm the one in the very stylish Ted Baker shirt.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

PUTTIN' ON THE RIIITTH

At last I found deep love

Is it me or do all these 50-something untidy women (a.k.a. the hairy ones) look like Susan Boyle? Just look around you.

Here I was in Waitrose, on Saturday afternoon, and I had Susan Boyle holding up the queue in front of me. It was as if she was having difficulty counting, taking forever, even though her bill - for some Sheeba gourmet petfood and a reduced-price ready made pie - was £7.12.


Ms Boyle before and after her $1.06m make-over

She took 3 minutes 23s (I timed her) to extract from her purse a £20, a 5p, a 2p and 5x1p.

Then she turned round to me and spoke.

I, however, was listening to my iPod touch. Though I saw her I chose to ignore her, looking straight ahead. Then when she insisted on continuing to speak I decided to listen (as always, in these circumstances, I think "what would my mother expect of me in this situation?"):

"I am sorry for holding you up," she explained.

"Sorry," I said, pulling out my earphones, smiling, "I didn't hear you. I was dreaming a dream".

"I am sorry for holding you up, I said", she said.

"That's OK. Just don't do it again," I smiled back to her; I could see that the cashier was shocked at me. I smiled at her too. I doubt my mother would have expected that!

Why not? After all I doubt SuBo was the type to smack me in the face or challenge me (likely if it was someone who would I wouldn't have dared say it. But that's another psyche). Anyway, she was probably busy dreaming the dream too.

Then, on my way home, whilst walking through the Bunhill Fields I happened upon another SuBo.


Life is just fan'dabi'dozi for SuBo and her male impersonator (on the left-mine or yours)

Then on the 'effing bus wouldn't you just know it - there was another Ms. Boyle (humming to herself).



Ms. Boyle after her £7.12 make-over, and Ms. Boyle, aged 23, before she was kissed.

When you get the chance, just look around you - no more Katie "Sky Remote" Jordan, no more 34B Posh Beckman. No more Kylie hotpants. The rage is all grow-your-own-caterpillar brow, never-had-a-brazillian bush.

(Has Piers Morgan been given police protection yet? Don't you just know she is going to get obsessive about him).

Incredibly long love

(A gentle, but firm, love).

Sorry for the evil nature of this post, but I'm wholly encouraged to do it listening to Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein: The Musical. I'm particularly inspired by Putting on the Ritz. With the wonderful Megan Mullally.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Neighbour Watch - Meet The Chavs

The street behind us, whose gardens back onto us, has a mix of private and council housing. Though it's the residents rather than the accommodation that distinguishes them.

Whilst I don't count them as neigbours like Miss Hugo, Fred and Seb and Dr Botox (i.e. neighbours with whom I interact), I cannot ignore their proximity.

From time to time they can be as challenging as (I'm finding) the constant distraction of the construction site on the southern aspect. Here, there, they are still sinking hard iron rods into those gaping, well-drilled holes.


Now, do you think Mr. Brasil's posture:
  • simply betrays the pleasure he experiences having a semi-naked construction worker in front of him; and/or
  • is an unconscious attempt to convey a message that he (Mr. Brasil) is waiting for more than his wheelbarrow to be filled?
Alternatively he might just be showing off an HRH Harry:



Neighbourhood chav

In the meantime, meet the chavs. They live on the road behind behind us, on the north-west aspect.



Pyjamas at 2.30pm. Now that is class.

I wondered what they were doing. But from the almost finished result I can see - it's some kind of TARDIS console playroom, though the colours aren't quite right!



Finally, while snapping these, I spotted Miss Hugo and Fred & Seb (in Miss H's apt.). Just before they spotted me and waved.



As I previously reported, Miss H is a TV producer. She's working on a project that will pick up on the popularity of Hugh Fern-Cotton's River Cottage series, in particular the Landshare project.

As a result we are all of us having to grow home produce. I refuse to be on TV, but you will probably see my apartment at some point. In one of those famous TV deceptions Seb will pretend it is his home.

I'll let you see how we are all getting on home-growing soon. Needless to see, when you see our efforts (Xfe's not to blame, for he tends well when here, I neglect) I'm happy not to take responsibility.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

L,M,N,O,P (The Problem With Books)

Is anyone able to offer suggestions for a good holiday read?

I love reading for leisure, but these days it's very much a luxury for me.

When I first moved to London I always had books on the go. I would read on the tube during the journey to and from work. Now, I walk.

If I'm not working late then I tend to go to bed early. I'll leave mon C watching TV and go to bed to read. But I'm so tired I struggle to read more than two pages. Instead I listen to the radio (R4).

In contrast, Xfe reads a huge amount.

That is why, when I'm on holiday, I really appreciate reading. But the problem is this.

Because reading time is at a premium I find it difficult:
  • deciding which books are worth investing my time in reading; and
  • to stick with a book which might offer long-term reward if, in the short-term, it's not working for me.
Often, when I do read a novel I suspect that I may not have got everything it had to offer, and so find it unedifying. (Come to think of it I realise that I'm a bit like this with music; I know I want to listen to something, but I can't settle on that which will really satisfy me).

Last summer I read The Historian. I really enjoyed the first 11/12ths of it, lushly written, paced and well structured. But it seemed that the author became bored, was impatient to finish and lost her way. I found the very last parts of it a disappointing let-down.

I've given up on many books since then, and I've forgotten the last book that I finished, only recently. I think I did enjoy it (otherwise I wouldn't have finished it). Though I did re-read (and enjoy) Under the Skin.

Currently I'm trying to read Voodoo Histories. But I'm only interested in sections of it. I'm also trying to read a book about the history of colours (though I think mon C has taken it with him).

For the upcoming holiday I'll be taking:



If anyone has other recommendations, you'll find me receptive.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Neighbour Watch - The Works, Part 2


It's been a while since I updated on the works being done next door.

They're progressing at a pace - and I'm finding it difficult to avoid watching every intriguing moment of the, erm, progress...

More detailed pics on the demolition will follow, but in the meantime here is what greeted us on-site yesterday on a hot, sunny June morning.

This chap first appeared on site yesterday. He's doing the piling works.

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Though, as you can see, he got a little hot. He wasn't the only one however.

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It's hard work though.

work2work1

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Do You Know The Way To St-Tropez?

I have to admit that I was rather surprised how nice and scenic (pretty) Saint-Tropez was. I was expecting it to be something tacky, yet it was not.

Xfe and I spent a week on the beach, swimming and sunning. Relaxing and eating plenty good seafood. Yum.

As it was off season the beach was relatively quiet. The first couple of days we were there the sea was a chilly 16C. However by the time we left it had warmed to a pleasant 21C-a very noticeable difference.

Having had a childhood spent bathing off the coast of Aberdeen in the North Sea (and the River Dee), I know cold. And the first few days the Cote d'Azur Med felt cold! Though Xfe and I supposed that we had been spoiled by Tel Aviv's warmer 24C bay.

There were a few Irish people around about. Many Dutch and Scandinavian and a few Canadians. Including Mr Montreal Muscle.

I don't like a man with too many muscles (oh say it then....just one big one), but when he rolled up his shorts he was very desireable.

On Saturday it was army day off. If you look at the large version on my Flickr account you can see their boots lined up extremely neatly and well ordered. Very Service Actif.

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These are the guys who belong to those boots.

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One of these days...

The only Americans that we came across (until the airport) were on the ferry across the bay.

They were mother's boyfriend and her son and stood in front of us, in our space at the front of the ferry, for the first part of the boat journey.

Mother's boyfriend (or maybe the stepdad) was overjoyed at having seen a sign on the door informing users to "push" [it open]. Thus, he spent a great deal of the journey asking his stepson - or girlfriend's boy (pictured here) to repeat the word, cracking up each and every time he spoke it.

DSC04985

"Poussez".

Ah well, simple things....

Xfe heard them have a conversation along the lines of:

"- See, I can be nice with you. Aren't we're having fun,"

"It's good that we can do things together; we can do more like this if you're a good boy. If not I'll do things with your sister. But it's better for us to do things together because you're a little boy and I'm a man."

I felt sorry for the little boy. BF made him run (carrying a heavy backpack) for the navette rewarding him with a Macdo full fat frappuccino.

I suggested to Xfe that was vile-warped punishment on the boyfriend's part. He probably took pleasure telling the little one he was overweight and needed to exercise, but spent his time fattening him up.

On the subject of the ferry, this English girl had no knickers on. While we were waiting to board a breath of air blew her embarrassment away. And when she got on the ferry Xfe heard two old French dames on the steps behind her, remarking!

DSC05165DSC05169

Of course, its not the Cote d'Azur for nothing, as these pics show.

DSC04917

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We had lazy evenings by the port.

DSC04973

And energetic days watching the football on the beach.

DSC04967
footie

"StTrop" is very well known for the pretty people.

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But none more so than le grouch...
DSC05168

Anyway, back to St-Tropez -

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Time to finish. I think mon C is a little fed-up!!!

DSC05078

We drink tea for two
The sky is blue and I love you
It’s in your eyes you love me too
Where it never rains
We take a shower of champagne
Let’s dance away let’s go insane

Crying when I empty
My last bottle of chablis
I’ll survive the winter of paris

Cars a la plage de saint tropez
A summer day I meet you there
I take your hand I say mon chere
And we’re in love
Cars a la plage de saint tropez
We have a dirty love affair
And there is musique in the air
When we’re in love

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