Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Ferocious in Battle, Magnanimous in Victory

"If you are ferocious in battle, remember to be magnanimous in victory,"

These are some of the incredibly moving and memorable words given by the British Colonel Tim Collins on the eve of battle of the Iraq war to his soldiers...

"We go to liberate, not to conquer.
We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own.

Show respect for them.

There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly.
Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send. As for the others, I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose.
But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory.

Iraq is steeped in history.
It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham.
Tread lightly there.

You will see things that no man could pay to see
- and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis.
You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing.

Don't treat them as refugees for they are in their own country.
Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.

If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day.
Allow them dignity in death.
Bury them properly and mark their graves.

It is my foremost intention to bring every single one of you out alive.
But there may be people among us who will not see the end of this campaign.
We will put them in their sleeping bags and send them back.
There will be no time for sorrow.

The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his rightful destruction.
There are many regional commanders who have stains on their souls and they are stoking the fires of hell for Saddam.
He and his forces will be destroyed by this coalition for what they have done.
As they die they will know their deeds have brought them to this place. Show them no pity.

It is a big step to take another human life.
It is not to be done lightly.
I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts.
I can assure you they live with the mark of Cain upon them.

If someone surrenders to you then remember they have that right in international law and ensure that one day they go home to their family.
The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please.

If you harm the regiment or its history by over-enthusiasm in killing or in cowardice, know it is your family who will suffer.
You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest -- for your deeds will follow you down through history.
We will bring shame on neither our uniform or our nation.

It is not a question of if, it's a question of when.
We know he has already devolved the decision to lower commanders, and that means he has already taken the decision himself.
If we survive the first strike we will survive the attack.

As for ourselves, let's bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there.

Our business now is North."

The Prince of Wales later wrote that he was by the "extraordinarily stirring, civilised and humane" words.

"What you said somehow encapsulated, in a brilliantly inspired way, everything that we have come to expect of our armed forces and demonstrated why, quite simply, they are the best in the world," he wrote.

This is one of the most famous of recent speeches. It has been said that George W Bush has this speech on the wall of the Oval Office in the White House.

At approximately the same time, somewhere in the Persian Gulf, on board a US aircraft carrier as hostilities commenced, its Captain blasted out Queen's 'We will rock you!' over the tannoy system to accompany the Cruise Missiles being launched on the same people...

Sunday, 21 May 2006

Stupidity, Ignorance, Greed and the Love of Power

'No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and the love of power.'

PJ O'Rourke

Impossible Bloody Rice

Whilst I'm on the subject of food, as the staple diet for billions of people around the world rice must be one of the most cooked food items ever.

I have had some delicious rice dishes in my time, particular in Brasil where they seem to be able to make plain boiled rice into a dish all on its own.
Above: Delicious Chilli con Carne, Below: Perfect Jalfrezi
Now, I can knock out a rather good Indian Curry and a wicked Chilli Con Carne. Both of these dishes require huge amount of preparation, the correct selection of ingredients and perfected cooking times. I've never been taught, just learnt by trial and error.

So as a man I am very proud of myself for being able to do something as complex and alien as all of this is (for a mere man anyway).

So why the hell when it comes to popping a few cups of plain rice into boiling water for the specified time on the bloody packet does my rice always turn out like something you avoid on the pavement on a Saturday morning?????

Every single, damned time. Crap, sloppy, yuckie chuck-it-in-the-bin-before-anybody-sees-it rice. Even the dog looks guilty when I put it in her bowl! 'It wasn't me, honest!'

And so when I cook to impress I have to confess that I have to pop into the local take-away and buy their lovely warm rice to accompany my very complicated yet perfect dishes. Always.
Below: My sticky, sloppy, hopeless bloody rice...
WHY??????


If you can cook rice so that it's edible or can see why you think my rice turns out alien-like please let me know below. Save me from my social embarrassment. Please....I might even invite you over!

Saturday, 20 May 2006

Monday, 15 May 2006

Tanks a lot

Sometimes we are just minding our own business when suddenly our thoughts are rudely interrupted by a great pair of legs such as these.

I thought this was for kids only? Apparently not, but just look at the kids face on the right as his brother calls his dad over. 'Quick dad! Come ee-aaa....!!'

When all Else Fails - Cuddle a Cat


There's nothing quite like it.

Do you Know What it is Yet?

So tiny and so cute. Where can I get me one of those?

He may be tiny now but he grows into quite a size and packs one hell of a kick.

But what is it?

Answers/guesses below please.

Friday, 12 May 2006

People = shit

Here's my favourite piece of graffitti ever. Found on a wall in Seville and explaining in just two words all of the world's problems.

A Helping Hand


The world would be a better place if more people just offered a helping hand where it was needed. Nobody would turn down this child's needs, yet we turn away from others who need our help just as much.

There is a child's hand in everybody, it's just sometimes hidden from view by our prejudices or we're just far too busy to notice.

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

England in Spring, oh bollocks...

Oh England, my England. I was so happy to leave you and never return and then I see pictures like this and remember how beautiful you are.

Oh bollocks, take me back. Please. Forgive me and let me cast my weary eyes on your captivating beauty once more...


(Just get rid of the bloody dictatorial BBC TV Licence, the Community Charge, Road Fund Licences (Tax Discs) and that shite Big Brother first...!)

When Humans Have Pissed You Off Enough...


What you really need is a bit of animal love and tenderness...Priceless...

Sunday, 7 May 2006

The Sultan's Elephant, London

A beautiful fairytale unravelled on the streets of London recently in a manner never seen before and never to be forgotten.

As reported by the BBC, the show began with a crashed space ship in Waterloo Place. (Note for our American readers - it's not a real UFO, there's no need to do an Orson Wells War of the Worlds type of panic - it's just a play!)

Out stepped a 5m (16ft) tall girl (a marionette) and so the story began.

Two years in the planning, the story tells of a time-travelling elephant and a little girl enacted out on the streets of London against the backdrop of famous landmarks.

The giant girl spent her first night sleeping (and snoring) in Horse Guards Parage in a giant deckchair before being woken by a 42 tonne, giant mechanical elephant showering her in water.

After walking through the streets of London together that day they spent the night together sleeping in Traflagar Square, watched by thousands of passers-by.

To see the full story from the creators Royal de Luxe visit The Sultans Elephant.

Images courtesy of the BBC and Getty Images. Thanks to Royal de Luxe for the show.
Below: Some lucky children were plucked from the crowd and carried along by the little girl. A true piece of magic in an otherwise boring, mundane life. More please!
Children balance on puppet's arms

Where are the Police when you need them...?

I shouldn't really laugh but I found this picture highly amusing. Taken from the BBC website, 'Residents of the Mexican town of San Salvador Atenco rose up against police on Wednesday, chasing them out of town and taking control.'

The group of cops you see are actually running away from the mob of people running after them. How far did they run? Were they in step? What happened to the fat guy all police units have?

Saturday, 6 May 2006

Hair Cut (by Royal Appointment) at Toni and Guy's, Bangkok

Yes, Al (my UK hairdresser) takes about an hour to cut my hair and charges a lot of cash but I don't look like a complete twat when I leave the salon and that is worth paying for.

He's my favourite hairdresser. He runs Futuro in Bene't Sreet, Cambridge. He is an Italian guy trained at Toni and Guy before setting up his very own successful salon in Cambridge. Clearly he is good and has always left me with a quality and satisfying cut.

Sadly, after 3 years in Spain he has had his work cut out for him (forgive the pun) each time I returned in the summer for a 'rectification' cut. Why does no-one in Seville know how to cut hair? You get two bloody choices, a US Marine cut in the summer, or a slightly longer US Marine cut in the winter. It takes all of 4 minutes and costs a tenner and causes me so much stress.

So when Paula suggested I get my hair cut in Bangkok at Toni and Guy's for about 15 I jumped at the chance (it would normally cost me about €50-60 in Europe).

As my legs reluctantly carried me into Siam Paragon I began to look forward to sitting down and being pampered for an hour or so, as did they. Oh it's been so long. (Come on Spain, read this).

Paula left her instructions with the staff (she's a director by profession you see) and went shopping. A pretty young Thai hairdresser then proceeded to wash my hair for me. Now I don't know about you but I love having my head massaged. I think my scalp is one of the most sensitive parts of my body and this girl gave me the best head massage I have ever had. Talk about ability! It must have lasted about 10 minutes in all.

It was so good I even forgot about the agony of my legs but unfortunately it was over all too soon. (The best ones always are). I sat down in front of the mirror and noticed that the atmosphere in the salon had perceptibly changed somehow. Had I embarrased myself?

No I hadn't of course, it was only a massage, but whilst my head was in heaven unbeknown to me a VIP had entered the salon for a cut. I heard it all from Paula afterwards but สมเด็จพระเทพรัตนราชสุดา เจ้าฟ้ามหาจักรีสิรินธร รัฐสีมาคุณากรปิยชาติ สยามบรมราชกุมาร had just entered the place!!!!!

Yes, you heard me - สมเด็จพระเทพรัตนราชสุดา เจ้าฟ้ามหาจักรีสิรินธร รัฐสีมาคุณากรปิยชาติ สยามบรมราชกุมาร, or in English Som det phra thep phra rat raat cha su daa Chao fa Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Ratha si ma ku na korn pi ya chat Siam ba rom ma raat cha ku maa ree.

Not only was she here but she was actually sitting next to me!!

สมเด็จพระเทพรัตนราชสุดา เจ้าฟ้ามหาจักรีสิรินธร รัฐสีมาคุณากรปิยชาติ สยามบรมราชกุมาร (Som det phra thep phra rat raat cha su daa Chao fa Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Ratha si ma ku na korn pi ya chat Siam ba rom ma raat cha ku maa ree) is none other than Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, daughter of the Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej (known as Phra Thep to her friends).

So Paula nonchalantly ambles up to me, curtsies and gives me a huge glass of chilled and delicious coffee (OK, she didn't, but she did give me the drink).

So there I was with a beautiful woman providing me with delicious drinks, another running her hands through my hair (but only in a professional capacity of course) and the ultra respected and highly regarded Princess of Thailand sitting next to me, having her mop sorted out for her birthday bash the next day, or so she said.

Now who felt like royalty? Lap it up Dave.

So I left Toni and Guy's with a great haircut, a beautiful woman on my arm and an anecdote to bore people with for years to come. Even my legs had stopped complaining.

And just to finish the afternoon off per
fectly, we popped downstairs to the incredible food hall. To think that one of Paula's Spanish students once said to her that she'd 'miss Spanish food!' The whole ground floor was covered with different types of food stall/restaurants/bakerys etc.

All professionally attended, all immaculate, all delicious. So we walked around making difficult choices before sitting down and stuffing our faces with incredible Thai food all washed down with perfect Thai service.

And then I couldn't stand up. The legs had finally given up. Oh bugger...

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