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Smoke Detectors

There is nothing more irritating than a smoke detector that has a battery that has run out and it does that annoying "beep" every so often... the only thing that is more irritating is when said smoke detector is situated next door and next door has gone away on holiday for a few days - so you lie awake in bed at the dead of night listening out for "beep.......... beep..................... beep" (the gap varies! I know, I have counted the seconds in between).
Rant over.

Ellen DeGeneres

I have noticed this woman occasionally on the telly and never really thought much about it. Who is she? Dunno really. Apparently she is a comedienne, has done a bit of acting, singing, dancing... but isn't really known for it. She is a judge on American Idol. She hosts a chat show. She has introduced the Oscars. But everytime I've seen her, she simply isn't funny or has done anything to hold my attention. Again I keep coming back to the same question... how do these people do it? Absolute mediocrity and they are paid millions... I have even bored myself stupid by writing this post. Weird.
Rant over.

Films I'm Looking Forward To... No. 3 - Iron Man 2

Goes without saying... Robert Downey Jr was fantastic in the original, so fingers crossed for the sequel. My only concern is do we have to have another character in a similar looking powersuit? (ie. War Machine). Rourke looks good though!

Sharron Davies

Okay... as Dark Lochnagar has previously said: "Hammond, you don't half watch some shite on TV" or some such phrase. I must admit I have had one eye on Dancing on Ice. I know, I know - I am a sad b*stard, but there is bugger all on a Sunday - that is my excuse.

Anyway what I am leading up to is "Olympic swimmer" Sharron Davies, who was booted off the above programme because the viewing public can't stand her. Everytime she appears on anything they make reference to her Olympic performance... from 30 years ago... when she came second... and the Americans weren't competing because the games were being held in Moscow. Now I know it takes years of practice to be at the top (or anywhere near the top) in any sport and I know I could not do any better... BUT... there has been a damn sight better British sportsmen or women that have done considerably better than her. Yet still she persists on TV. Sharron... you are mediocre.

Rant over.

Return to The Cotswolds

Our weekend away in the Cotswold's was a bit of a sequel to a break we took a couple of years back to Stratford-upon-Avon. This time we stayed at an olde worlde pub in the village of Chipping Campden called the Eight Bells Inn.

Let me rewind a bit... I have an issue with our sat nav. Namely the bloody thing is blatantly untrustworthy. Don't get me wrong, generally it gets us to our desired destination, however occasionally it seems to throw a curved ball and sends us on weird routes. Also it seems to struggle with certain sections of major highways and the map simply disappears. Of course this is what happened this time and then when the bloody thing got back to normal it decided it wanted to take us an even more long winded course. After taking a switchback cross country journey through snow and sleet we arrived at Chipping Campden (why are there so many places in England called Chipping something?)

The Eight Bells Inn was a very old establishment and our room was situated in the annex. It was comfortable if a little bit on the small side and bizarrely featured one of those old style clockwork alarm clocks which of course I promptly wound up and then regretted it because it ticked rather loudly.

We took a stroll along the main boulevard of downtown Chipping Campden, taking in the ambiance of the place - this took all of 15 minutes or so and then wandered back to the inn for a pint of Old Hookey and a glass of wine! Dinner was superb at the Eight Bells and we both had steak which was cooked to perfection. Of course N was delighted that she was sitting right next to the open fire place.

Friday, we ate a hearty breakfast and set off for our first port of call which was Anne Hathaway's Cottage, which is situated on the outskirts of Stratford. Like the Shakespeare Birthplace there is a guide in the room who describes what life was like in the house (however this time they weren't in costume). The sheer tedium of repeating the same descriptions, anecdotes, jokes etc. every few minutes to a different group of visitors astounds me. Anyway it was well worth the visit and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the Bard and Mrs. Bard.

Our second place to visit was Warwick Castle... to be honest I had some misgivings about visiting the castle as Tripadvisor had criticised it as being geared for kids (if memory serves me it has been taken over by the Tussauds Group). As it turned out we wouldn't get to find out! The entrance to the castle car park was coned off and guarded by an elderly monkey-brained retard who could only grunt words to the effect the car park was full and he didn't know anywhere else where there was parking. Good to see at a major tourist attraction great customer service eh? We didn't bother looking...

We decided instead to re-visit Stratford-upon-Avon... and after the sat nav decided it was two hours away (or only 8 miles if you looked at the road signs) and tried to direct us 180 degrees away from the town centre we eventually got there. We retraced our steps from two years ago and bought some chips near to the theatre which is still in the process of being revamped.

Back to Chipping Campden and this time we decided to have dinner at Hicks Brasserie... but before that we simply had to watch the live edition of EastEnders to see who had murdered Archie Mitchell. The meal at Hicks Brasserie wasn't as good as the previous night's at the Eight Bells but was not too bad. Toulouse sausages... whatever that is? Afterwards we trod our weary way back to bed!

And that was it... another full English for brekkie the next day (this morning as I write/type) and yet a different route back home.

Afternoon Tea

On Valentine's Day, N and I had afternoon tea at The Montagu Restaurant in The Churchill, Regency Hyatt Hotel in London... and it was absolutely bloody brilliant! The service was impeccable and the food was sublime... and we really can't recommend it enough!
Rating: 10/10

Ugly stick or what?

During the early days of The Hammond Rants, I ranted about Mick Hucknell from Simply Red... just seen a current photo and to quote The Predator... "One ugly mother f*ck*r." Bloody 'ell Mick - stick a paper bag over your head and do us all a favour.

Rant over.

Konrad Bartelski

I remember all those years ago... back in 1981 to be exact when good old Konrad Bartelski came second in the World Cup downhill skiing race in Val Gardena (I think?). The only British guy to do anything decent in the history of British skiing... a bit sad really. You can check out Konrad on his website

Ski Jumping

It must take years of dedication and training to reach the pinnacle of ski jumping (as it does with all sports)... and you get precisely 2 nanoseconds of recognition on the BBC and therefore the British public. I have just watched coverage of the Winter Olympic ski jumping and now cannot remember any names of those that took part... actually that is a lie! The guy who won was Simon Amman... was it? Interesting to see the Winter Olympics is relegated to BBC2 as there are hardly any British competitors and therefore bugger all interest. On a separate note I couldn't help notice that the ski jumpers were all about 20 years old, were skinny b*st*rds and looked like they had never shaved!

Rant over.

Scottish Widows

Talk about giving you the willies! Looking forward to your retirement? Not with this lot. The name and the imagery make you think you are about to receive a visitation from the Grim Reaper. A cowled figure clad in black robes emerges from the gloom. Are you going to discuss your pension or are you gonna be staked out and sacrificed?

Rant over.

Films I'm Looking Forward To... No. 2 - Clash of The Titans

I'm not particularly impressed with Sam Worthington so far... however I caught the trailer to Clash of The Titans just before Sherlock Holmes... And blimey!... it looked superb!!

Kraft reverses Cadbury factory vow

"Food giant Kraft has signalled the loss of up to 400 jobs by announcing the closure of a Cadbury factory - despite earlier promises to keep it open.
The US firm said it was "unrealistic" to reverse Cadbury's plans to shut the site at Somerdale near Bristol and announced that the factory would shut by 2011.
Kraft, whose five-month battle for control of the confectioner was sealed earlier this month, had pledged to retain the plant.
But it said Cadbury had already spent £100 million on building new facilities in Poland and most production would be transferred by the middle of this year." -- MSN website.

Well there you go... surprise, surprise eh? British companies really don't give a f*ck do they about the people that work for them. As I posted earlier, this would not happen elsewhere abroad... And what bugs me they have spent £100 million on a factory in Poland. B*ST*RDS.

Rant over

'King of the Chavs' Michael Carroll back on the dole after blowing entire £9m Lotto win

"You have to hand it to "Lotto Lout" Michael Carroll - aka "Chavvy McChav-Chav" - after managing to squander no less than £9.3 million the former bin man has plucked up the affront to sign on for state benefits.Eight years ago he turned up to collect his Lottery winnings with an electronic tag on his ankle, imposed after a few two many drunk and disorderly offences. Since then, he has blown the lot on drugs, car demolition derbies at his home, ladies of the night and laughable jewellery.So where did it all go wrong, and can we learn anything from his experiences?Where it wentOf his winnings, £5 million went on family and friends, £1million went on gambling, £250,000 went on drugs, £100,000 went on ladies of easy virtue and £55,000 went on legal fees – not all that surprising given his other habits. He also put £1million into Glasgow Rangers."-- AOL website
There is not a lot one can say about this retard... except it just shows you that luck, coincidence and being in the right place at the right time are the things that govern so much of our lives. It is nothing to do with what we believe we deserve.
Philosophical rant over.


I must admit that I wasn't sure I was going to like this film. Morgan Freeman can appear a little bit smug in my eyes and after I read that he has held a life long desire to play Nelson Mandela and "everyone" believes that he is the only Hollywood actor capable of playing the great man, I felt a little bit irked.
Having said all that, I thought Freeman was excellent! It was very clever to use the 1995 Rugby World Cup as the focus of Mandela's quest to unite the people of South Africa and to put the past behind them. Matt Damon seemed a little short to play Francois Pienaar but otherwise puts in a reasonable performance (not sure how his South African accent stood up?)
There was an elderly South African couple sitting next to us in the cinema and I swear to God, the husband didn't realise the Spring Boks defeated the All Blacks.
Rating: 7/10