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We accompanied MO last Wednesday evening to see Whitney Houston at the O2. I felt a bit of trepidation about the concert as Whitney has been slated in the press for being... how can I say it... cr*p. We arrived in plenty of time and after a dinner of bangers and mash we made our way to our seats. There were two support acts - the latter one being two blokes who came second in Holland's Got Talent!

Anyway Whitney eventually came on and began her last UK performance. Now I must admit I am not exactly a Whitney fan (unlike MO) but I do acknowledge that she can sing... it was just that she has lost her former glory. It has been said that she is a much better recording artist and it was certainly evident here. She was out of breath most of the time and couldn't hit all the notes. Towards the end she was certainly flagging. It also seemed to me that she tried to drag things out by rambling in between songs.

For me she was disappointing... but it wasn't unexpected.

MO's Rating: 5/10

Cape Town V - Part 14

This is the second time we have had brekkie at The Barnyard... an outdoor restaurant that caters for kids (it has a collection of friendly farmyard animals). LAB, N, myself and little c gorged ourselves on boerewors, bacon, eggs, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes etc... Actually what I meant to say was - I gorged myself on boerewors, bacon, eggs (you get the picture!)

Little c entertained herself on the swings and playing in the sandpit and demanded a ride on the pony that was led on an endless circuit of the establishment, whilst us three sat at the table chatting.

To be continued...

Kick Ass

"With no powers, comes no responsibility"... Kick Ass is excellent entertainment. Why hasn't anyone in real life decided to become a superhero? Well this film shows what happens when a teenager called Dave decides to do that very thing. Of course he is completely useless at it... until he gets drawn into preventing a mugging which is then filmed and shown on YouTube and he becomes an overnight success. Without spoiling the plot, Kick Ass teams up with a father and daughter team called Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) and Hit Girl.

Hit Girl is a revelation... a foul mouthed, ultra vicious eleven year old she sets about beating the cr*p out of all the villains. In fact I may go as far as saying she is the true star of the film. There are some seriously funny moments, spliced with incredible violence. This is not a film for kids and I urge you to go and see it. Fabulous.

Rating: 9/10

Cape Town V - Part 13

After our daily call to Emirates we were told that if we could get to Johannesburg we would be able to get a flight back to Dubai. Of course they wouldn't pay for the internal flight from Cape Town to Joburg as it wasn't their problem. Nice isn't it? You really see the sh*t customer service come out when their backs are against the wall (I reckon this applies to all airlines judging from what I have heard from other people). Anyway we decided to go with it otherwise the alternative was to wait until 2nd May for a flight from Cape Town and even then that wasn't guaranteed!

I booked the flight online with who turned out to be a pretty good budget airline (£75 each to Joburg one way).

Now we finally knew how long we had left, we spent our last evening at the cinema watching the film Kick Ass.

To be continued...

Cape Town V - Part 12

Didn't even leave the house today... well not until the evening when N and I took little c to Ocean Basket for dinner.

Coincidentally when we saw SG the other day he had been talking about the luxury train trips you can take across South Africa. The Blue Train and Rovos Rail. Then today on the news I saw that one of the Rovos trains was derailed and a couple of people were killed.

Still waiting for a call from Emirates to see when we are going home.

To be continued...

Cape Town V - Part 11

Nothing much to report for the last two days... I have spent my time mainly working via "remote desktop" connected to the server 6,000 miles away! I see there was a report about West Midlands local education authority not paying people who are stranded because of the volcano... I would personally like to bury my fist in the face of the w*nker that has proposed that one! Emirates phoned us to say "no news"... I can't help wondering that all this suspension of flights is unnecessary. These test flights have resulted in no problems whatsoever.

To be continued...

Cape Town V - Part 10

Our unexpected third Sunday in South Africa meant that we could take the coastal drive to the town of Hermanus. Famous for its whale watching from the coast, Hermanus is about an hour by car south of Cape Town. Unfortunately we visited at the wrong time of year... last week in September is apparently the best. SG was in our car and he performed a sterling job of showing us where to go. Our route along the coast road took us through various small towns, one of which we stopped off in. Kleinmond, whose inhabitants speak Afrikaans as their first language was an attractive quiet village... the total opposite to the vibrancy of Cape Town.

In Hermanus itself we had a spot of lunch in a fish restaurant (eating again!)... followed by 2 scoops of ice cream from an excellent ice cream parlour. We had a brief wander around the market and stroll along the cliff paths, which took us past The Marina Hotel (see photo above). There are a lot of holiday homes in Hermanus and a lot of them were closed up for the autumn. SG said Hermanus is nicknamed "Joburg-by-the-sea".

We eventually drove back a different route along the N2 going over the mountain pass and back into Cape Town... where we had a cuppa and some cake at SG's.

To be continued...

Cape Town V - Part 9

Well what can I say!... we are still in sunny Cape Town. Thanks to the Icelandic volcano all flights back to blighty have been cancelled.

A comment that has been made to me directly is that we seem to do nothing but eat when we go away... and to be honest that comment is spot on! So I'm going to carry on with the eating theme. Last night we went to the Wembley Roadhouse. What is the Wembley Roadhouse was my first question? Well... to put it in UK terms it is the equivalent of a drive in kebab place - in fact a large drive in kebab place. I of course had to have the "famous" Wembley Whopper and about 6 meat samosas all washed down with a banana milkshake. Very nice. Of course N found this very nostalgic because when she was growing up they used to go to the Roadhouse on a Friday evening... many years ago!

To be continued...

Cape Town V - Part 8

Flights cancelled... another night in Cape Town!

Shutter Island

Going to the cinema is dirt cheap in SA... R39 for a ticket at the Nu Metro multiplex at the Waterfront is not bad to say the least. Okay the screen was pathetically small - but you can't have it always.

Anyway... what was the film like? To be honest it felt a bit stilted, but I liked the old fashioned style of it. Di Caprio gave a great performance as the troubled US Marshall investigating the mystery of a missing patient at a maximum security mental hospital / prison. I had been aware prior to seeing the film that there was a bit of a twist to the story and I sort of guessed correctly as to what it maybe whilst watching the events unfold. The film also feels rather long and maybe could have been made a trifle shorter. Again having said all that it was well worth seeing and would certainly recommend seeing it. Not as good as The Departed. But not bad.

Rating: 7/10

Cape Town V - Part 7

Saturday afternoon and early evening we spent visiting family, including the famous "Uncle Joe", who isn't really N's uncle... but I like to wind her up about it! (btw that isn't a photo of him above).

On Sunday we all went for a braai at Tokai Forest which was very relaxing. SG and PG came along as well. As we were packing up a baboon put in an appearance (in fact he pulled open the rubbish bin to have a quick rummage).

Monday arrived and we took little c out to Hout Bay which has become a kind of tradition over the last 4 years. Fish and chips at Mariners Wharf was order of the day... followed by an ice cream and stroll out along the quayside.

Tuesday and it was time for little c to return to school but as she is only 3 years old and leaves school at 12:30pm we were given the task of picking her up. Thankfully the Vauxhall Zafira hasn't made its way to SA so it was unlike back home where the tubs of lard arrive and block you in to pick up their darling little sprogs... then chat to one another for the next hour like idle trolls.

For a late lunch we headed off to Sun Valley shopping mall where we met up with JO and had a pleasant lunch at Spur.

Evening time and N and I were off to the Waterfront for dinner and to see Shutter Island.

To be continued...

Cape Town V - Part 6

The only thing... and I stress the "only thing" I regret about dining at Maze was that we were benefiting that scumbag Gordon Ramsey. I have loathed this prat ever since I saw a programme about him being one of the worst employers in the UK. This was of course before he became world famous. I am no way criticising his skill as a chef, purely as a vile and arrogant individual who treats his employees like sh*t.

Anyway I digress!... This was the first time we have ever had valet parking (a bit embarrassing considering we arrived in a Hyundai Getz). We were a bit early but this didn't cause a problem as we were shown to our table promptly.

The wine list was more like a wine tome! A thick ring binder was handed to us to make our selection - of course by the separate wine waiter (there was a separate waiter for your wine and different one who served our food). My starter was the crab cocktail which I must say was of a very high standard. N had the quail. For our main courses we both had fillet steak which as you can see from the photo above was served on a wooden board. The steaks were succulent and flavoursome. Dessert for me was a warm orange and chocolate fondant and for N was banoffee cheesecake.

The whole experience was very impressive and the service was of a very high calibre... however it was still blown away by the service at the Regency Hyatt in London (sorry Maze... you ain't that good!)

I would certainly recommend Maze and it made a fabulous evening for our 3rd wedding anniversary!

To be continued...

Cape Town V - Part 5

Didn't do much yesterday... however we did spend the evening at PG's for yet another colossal dinner! Prawns with rice, chicken birani and a full on roast. Burp!

Still find "stop streets" a pain - first person to get to a junction has right of way. I feel compelled to give way to the right as there should be a mini roundabout in these situations. Also traffic lights going straight from "red" to "green"... nope not right!

Today 9th April 2010 is our 3rd wedding anniversary!!... I simply cannot believe how quickly time passes. This morning and early afternoon we went to Grand West which is an entertainment complex, with restaurants, cinema, ice rink and casino. As I have an aversion to gambling I was given the responsibility of looking after my niece little c - so we spent time in the kiddies funfair section. Twice on the rollercoaster on top of a burger and chips and I felt a bit sick. The kids all looked a bit mournful as they went around on the rides. The staff all looked as if they would promptly expire from the boredom of it all.

This evening we are off to Maze which is a Gordon Ramsey restaurant (a bloke I despise) but apparently the food and service is topnotch... and as you know - we like our food!

To be continued...

Penelope Cruz!!!

Just thought I would post a photo of Penelope Cruz (see below)

Cape Town V - Part 4

Yesterday we started off looking around in bedshops searching for a new bed for little c (well at least her mother LAB was). Then it was off to The Farm at Ocean View for an extended lunch (eating again!). Little c couldn't quite get the hang of the swing rope in the kids play area but she certainly seemed to enjoy herself.

Later we drove across to Somerset West to meet up with my father-in-law and his missus (JH and AH)... we had dinner at Ocean Basket and when we left the restaurant to N's horror she discovered she had lost her purse. I ran back (yes I ran) and fortunately found it was still on the floor at our table (she had missed dropping it into her bag)... then it was a half hour journey back home. God knows why but I ended up watching some crap film on MNET starring Ben Kingsley who was leching over Penelope Cruz - and as it was a bit of an arty film (lot of French names in the credits) there was quite a bit of sh*gging!

To be continued...

The Goats at Fairview Wine Farm

Great cheese!

Cape Town V - Part 3

The next couple of days have been a blur of massive over eating. First of all a huge buffet at The Winchester Mansions where I managed to gorge myself through a huge brunch... so much so I thought my stomach was literally going to explode. The next day at Fairview a wine farm near Franschoek. At Fairview they produce everything themselves including a range of speciality cheeses. I dined on a truly superb lamb curry.

Today we took the sightseeing tour bus (something I maybe should have done on my first trip here) and ended up having lunch at Camps Bay along with N, LAB and little c. When we arrived back we made a quick visit to the shops and then around to the B's for dinner.

As I am typing this N is busy trying to get my niece, little c, into her pyjamas after which we will sod off back to my mother-in-law's.

To be continued...

Plasticky Heap of Junk - Hyundai Getz

Our hire car

Cape Town V - Part 2

As I said in Part 1 we were bumped forward to an earlier flight... the knock on effect was that we had a 5 hour wait at Dubai Airport instead of 2 hours. But looking at the departure board there didn't appear to be anymore flights that day from Dubai to Cape Town so had we missed our connecting flight we would have been stuck in Dubai for over 24 hours!

After scoffing a double whopper with cheese meal at 4am we settled down for a doze on some really uncomfortable seats in the departure lounge.

The highlight of this second flight was that we got to see the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the world's tallest building on take off. It looked incredible even though we were a considerable distance from it. It was at least 3 times taller than any other building the city!! That's one-up on you PSR!!!

I settled down to watch Fantastic Mr Fox... an altogether far superior film to the earlier two I had seen on the London to Dubai flight. The lo-tech stopmotion animation made the film for me. Clooney was excellent as the ultra-cool and sardonic Mr. Fox. Rating: 7/10.

At last we arrived at Cape Town International and were met by JH and AH. At the Budget rental car counter we were told we were having our car upgraded... this sounded promising. However when we got to the parking space we discovered we had been "upgraded" to a Hyundai Getz. I dread to think what we should have had!!

To be continued...

Cape Town V - Part 1

Easter wouldn't be the same if it wasn't spent in Cape Town. This year we flew by Emirates via Dubai rather than the more expensive option of flying direct. The interactive entertainment and the food were excellent, the service great but unusually a bit disorganised. Anyway I'm getting a bit ahead of myself so I will rewind a bit...

We caught the bus to Heathrow and arrived rather early. This turned out to be rather fortuitous as the flight we were originally going to catch had been delayed so we were bumped forward to an earlier departure. N was a bit narked by this because we couldn't spend time roaming around the shops in Terminal 3 or eat a meal in TGI Friday which we were intending to do. Instead we literally had about 30 minutes to pile through security and jog to the gate (okay maybe "jog" is not the correct word to use). One thing I would say about Emirates are that their staff are more friendly and helpful than other airlines I could mention (hmmph BA)... although they failed to synchronise your drinks with the meals they served. On this trip I watched 3 inflight films:

1) Where The Wild Things Are
2) GI Joe: Rise of Cobra
3) Fantastic Mr Fox

After reading positive reviews of Where The Wild Things Are and the sheer fact that I had missed it at the cinema, I was looking forward to this one... Honestly though I thought it was utter shite. An obnoxious kid with anger management issues falls out with his family and sails off to an island whose terrain radically changes from desert to woodland to mountainous... meets up with some crappy looking monsters a bit reminiscent of the Banana Splits who throw rocks at each other and smash up trees and speak childlike drivel. Maybe I was missing the point but I thought it was CRAP and I'm not surprised it bombed at the box office. Rating: 2/10.

GI Joe: What a load of b*ll*cks this film was. Utterly no redeeming features at all. Some dick called Channing Tatum who couldn't act to save his life was the square jawed soldier hero. And what the f*ck was Christopher Ecclestone doing in this pile of pony? Some knobhead oriental bloke who dressed in white all the time, a heroine/baddie who just liked to look good... Oh god I don't want to go on. This film was f*cking awful. Rating: 3/10.

Anyway I'm going to cut it short for now... as it is time for bed. So you will have to wait until later to read the other review and what happened next.

To be continued...

Bumper pay hikes for council chiefs

"The number of local council staff on six-figure pay packages rose 14% last year thanks to inflation-busting pay rises, campaigners have said. According to the Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA) annual "town hall rich list", there were 31 senior officials earning more than the Prime Minister and 219 paid better than cabinet ministers." -- AOL website

So let me get this right... last year during the recession when most other people were suffering redundancies, pay freezes and pay cuts. These f*cking waste of space mediocre sh*ts were receiving inflation busting pay rises and 31 of them were paid more than the most important politician in the country. To be a politician these days really does mean you have your head in the trough. It is utterly despicable... and they get the f*ck away with it!!!

Rant over.