Advent 16: Grog

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Gift “Your favourite tipple!” © Southampton Old Lady

p1140294It must be so strange for people who cannot or do not want to drink alcohol at Christmas when for some it is what the Solstice is all about.

In Britain, like food, we are bombarded with booze at this time of year. As well as all the traditional drinks like: bucks fizz for breakfast, sherry before dinner, special reserve wines with dinner, after dinner port, champagne, mulled wine, gluewhein, schnapps. Then brandy, rum, whisky (or whiskey if you prefer Irish). Then there are the bottled cocktails: rum punch, raspberry vodka, egg-nog, spiced cider, Baileys, Tia Maria, Malibu, Dubonnet, Martini – the list is endless.

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candlepint

 

 

 

 

In Europe there has been an increase in English flavoured-gins too, not just the usual sloe gin, but gins with spices like cardamom and cinnamon or dried orange peel.

All so very festive I agree, but dangers lurk too… What do children make of all this? Christmas is often when a toddler might sneak their first taste of the demon stuff while adults are distracted. So many of us forget about the calories, cancers, unit-limitations and we might let our hair down in ways we regret. How shocking! Did I really say that? p1180690That nasty fall! “Sure I can drive.”

I tend to drink lots of water between tipples and sup slowly.
I give myself plenty of dry days in between the jolly ones. I read the NHS alcohol units and, just to get people thinking without being a party bore, I slip questions into Christmas quizzes  (click on that last one for the BBC quiz about people’s drinking habits around the world – the link might not work in countries with Network restrictions)

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Glass bottles of wine with corks and labels from around the World

All photos © Southampton Old Lady

From Southampton: “New cancer drug shows promise in helping patients with blood cancer” — Science Springs

University of Southampton 5 December 2016 No writer credit found New cancer drug shows promise in helping patients with blood cancer. No image credit. A drug, which has been developed from the results of cancer immunology research at the University of Southampton, has been showed to reduce the risk of follicular lymphoma progression. Results from […]

via From Southampton: “New cancer drug shows promise in helping patients with blood cancer” — Science Springs

Advent 8: Pantomime

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A traditional panto in a British town hall will have jokes about the Mayor and local issues.
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Pub pantos are for adults and tend to be more political

Everyone should see a pantomime at least once. The traditional British festive plays are full of audience-participation with calls of “It’s behind you” and “Oh! Yes it is – No it isn’t” – The audience have to sing and they get sweets thrown at them. These are popular fairy tales rewritten, from Aladdin to Jack & The Beanstalk, full of adult innuendos that go right over kids heads. There is a fair bit of cross-dressing – The Dame, who is usually the mother of the hero, is played by an older male and the Principal Boy is always played by a younger leggy woman in tights.

School productions invite the parents. They have jokes about teachers and it is a teacher usually plays the Dame, such as Widow Twanky who squirts water over everyone in a washing scene. It will also show off talented pupils dancing, singing or playing an instrument.

The ones in pubs are usually political and raucous – usually a charity fund-raiser. Village hall ‘pantos’ deal with local issues and are usually the funniest.

In cities it is harder to create humour that everyone gets, so they tend to be more like musicals which feature celebrities and have bigger budgets for the sets.

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Mary Poppins at The Mayflower Theatre Southampton 2015

The Hobbits of my Shire

p1180483Here are the Tribes from which I hail

The Hobbits of my Shire

The re-users, repairers, recyclers

Savers from landfill that fields may flourish

Salts of the earth dwellers

Early birds who catch the worm

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Out in the cold

Fuelled by hunger to over-indulge

in all things merry

Dancers happy in simplicity

Comedians cut by teachers’ sarcasm

attended no classes –

they’re a class of their own

 

p1180481 The JAM tomorrows who live for today

True to themselves and trusting of none

Proud on their pins –

not scrounging welfare but scavenging bins

Disregarded regarders of the discarded

p1180484Magic menders of pre-loved dreams

Lorries full of broken treasures

Carpenters, seamsters and craft-sellers

musicians, poets and storytellers –

The talented that globalisation never minds

but we will sorely miss

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Inspired by a village auction in the New Forest, Hampshire

November 2016 © Southampton Old Lady

Economist who Predicted Trump & Brexit Explains What Happens Now

The world is in dire need of change, the rich have been getting richer while the poor have been getting poorer. It is a shock but we all need to come together to make a fairer world and stop name-blaming and creating divisions. Pop that filter-bubble and adjust to a new world.

The Conversation Room

In this clip Scottish Economist & Professor at Brown University, Mark Blyth discusses the state of global politics post The U.S election. 

Arguing that this giant shift has an economic source and the demise of Greece and rise of Podemos should have been the wake up call that the world needed:

“The global economy has boomed in the last 30 years yet for most, their standard of living and access to public services has declined dramatically.”

Eloquently examining what the global order will look like with elections in Germany France, the Netherlands and possibly Italy in 2017.

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Vomit Etiquette

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student vomit on a wall of a residential block

Horrible isn’t it?

But this is what residents in university cities face on a daily basis. I took this photo (above) of a wall of a residential block of flats, which means that no-one from the block will come and clean the offending spew, nor will the town council – so it might be there for well over a week. Thank heaven for British rain – but hell if it freezes over.

It has been freshers’ week and I have had to clean up three lots of the stuff. One lot on the pavement, one on my door step and another from my recycling bin. Recycled sick?  Come on guys I can feel the subconscious guilt – the well-meaning gesture, but no-one is going to re-use your puke!

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Fortunately while you are young your body take the abuse of alcohol and junk food
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behind the bush

Students are basically jobless alcoholics, but their parents are proud of them.

Well, it is a rite of passage, we have all been there. (Yes even me).

Fortunately, most students are at an age when their bodies can take all the abuse of alcohol and junk food. I am not giving advice on your choice of life-style. But you would do well to learn that this is not cool as there is in existence:-

Vomiting and Litter Etiquette

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A typical British street scene the night before bins are due to be emptied in a university town.

If you feel a need to chuck up, and it is better out than in, then it should be offloaded into the gutter, preferably on double yellow lines.

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Ideal place to chuck-up

No cars can park on them and these are usually cleaned by the Council each morning. This enables, say, a working mother to get her kids off to school and get to work in the morning, totally oblivious to what has happened the night before. If the chunder falls on her pavement, she’ll end up muttering “bloody students” under her breath and the chunks won’t be rinsed until she has time to do so in the evening, if she finds time at all. This also means that anyone passing the foul-smelling matter will also think: “bloody students” which does not make for good student-resident relations.

It is similar to litter. If you cannot bear to hold on to your left-over take-aways and drink cans until you find a public bin, then we would rather you used our bins than throw it at our front porch or hide it behind a bush in our green spaces. But please use the ordinary green-lidded rubbish bins, not the recycling ones.

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Squashed chips better off inside the bin

Find out from your council’s website what the recycling policy is in your neighbourhood. Students can also arrange to have their old mattresses collected cheaper or free in some areas, so you don’t need to dump them on parking spaces.

If you accidentally drop your take-away chicko-land & chips, then try to kick them into the gutter. This will prevent them being trodden on and squashed, and any that the gulls don’t breakfast on will be swept away in the morning.

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Too good to use?

Okay. I realise that not everyone who makes a mess is a student and that not every student trawls around the streets at night screaming drunk. But you will be stereotyped, unfortunately, as it is predominately students who do this.

I know that coffee shops, ice cream parlours and shisha lounges have become more popular in student areas and open later now to meet the demands of the alternative life-styles. The pendulum seems to swinging more towards an addiction to healthy green drinks and gyms these days.

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ice cream parlours open late for students

But until I stop having to check my bins for contamination, I will give my pennyworth.

The Shopping Lists Addict

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Shopping List found at Aldi, Southampton

Bread, milk eggs, meat for stew, steaks, double cream, blue eggs (trendy tinted ones?), cauliflower and/or broccoli, pointed peppers,  bottle of Merlot wine, 5-6 pots of heather (lovingly doodled).

Further to my Confessions of a yellow-sticker shopper (two posts back – or click here) – I have become addicted to a wonderful new blog called The Shopping Lists (click to visit if you dare – you may become addicted too!)

The site records scribbled, shopping lists, mostly those left behind in supermarket trolleys.

The Shopping Lists tries to piece together what these people are like via their eating habits and lifestyles. Comments are encouraged offering answers to clues about the shopper’s circumstance.  What’s the meal and how many are they cooking for?  What age, gender, time of year ? – Is it a party?

I have spent the last few evenings playing detective with every list posted. And before I send in this one – perhaps we can guess that this list is for a posh, romantic dinner at home for two, then a bit of gardening at the weekend. The ‘meat for stew’ has been crossed off – so perhaps at the last minute they have been informed that they will be on their own for the weekend and suddenly changed the menu?

You can also submit your own found shopping list by tweeting to @tshoppinglists or send an email to thelistcollector@gmail.com.

 

Been to Southampton beach yet?

“Been to Southampton beach yet?” – is a common joke older students ask Freshers when they arrive to start their new course at University. Most of the beaches in the UK are pretty, so many coming to study assume that as Southampton on the very edge of the sea in the south must have a good beach.

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This is not our beach, it is a make-do place at the Town’s quay to see a glimpse of water and sunbathe

If they did their research they would realise that Southampton is one of the biggest industrial ports there is. Its coast is taken up with docks, crammed with shipping vessels and harbours boxed up with metal containers that arrive and depart all over the world. Residents are blocked off from a view of the sea, apart from a few spaces to get a glimpse of light dazzling on the waves of Southampton Water, such as Mayflower Park (SO14 2AQ).

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The Port of Southampton is one of the worlds most productive and busiest

There were attempts in the early 1980s to boost tourism. A sand beach was built near Mayflower Park to welcome Carnival Line and to tempt cruise liner passengers to stay for a day. The cash injection did not work and landed us in debt, so it was not kept up. For any day trippers today there is an excellent walk around the old city walls (guided by volunteers even) lined with ancient pubs, five stunning parks – the odd museum and ancient plaques stating what or who used to be here.

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Southampton’s artificial beach at the town quay in the 1980s

In Jane Austen’s time Southampton was a fashionable spa town. Most of Southampton’s elegant buildings were Blitzed during WW2 and being an important financial hub and port, white concrete architectures was quickly thrown up. Most of the tourism to Southampton today is for its diverse range of live music and arts and festivals. West End theatre shows that tour usually start here. Sadly the city no longer worries about holiday-makers and has no tourist office – (though you can get info online and leaflets from the library) – but provides excellent transport links for cruise ship passengers to get to other more desirable destinations quickly, whether its London (70 minutes) the New Forest (10 minutes) or Stonehenge.

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The Jurassic coast line that stretches from Hampshire to Cornwall © Southampton Old Lady

We tend to swim at a pool or in one of our rivers. As for beaches Southampton is surrounded by the most beautiful beaches, so why compete?  It would not take you long to get anywhere along the Jurassic Coastline. You can take a short ferry ride to the Isle of Wight , a train to  Bournemouth a taxi to Southsea. Not to far by car you can visit Lepe, Hayling Island, Brownsea Island, Sandbanks (29 miles), Hengisburty Head (21 miles), Barton on Sea or Highcliffe (Click on the Beach Guide and look under Hampshire and Dorset). 

Greater Southampton does have beaches though, but these are not as pretty and take just as long to get to as those outside of its boundary.

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Weston Shore, as seen from Victoria Country Park, Southampton

Our beaches are mainly used for water-sports, as Southampton Water and the Solent are incredible tests for such enthusiasts. They are of pebble, not sand, they have views of residential or factory blocks, even an oil refinery.

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Another view of Weston Shore across to the oil refinery

There is Weston Shore in Netley and Calshot Beach (officially in Southampton and on Southampton Water but part of the New Forest) SO45 1BL.

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Calshot Beach is excellent for sailing, windsurfing and has an olympic sports centre. It is one of the best place to see ocean-liners arrive and depart and has a fort built by Henry VIII

Click Discover for what to see and do in Southampton.