Wednesday, 15 May 2019

‘Faulty Towers’

The Gnosh restaurant (pronounced Nosh) and once known as Blu Duby has its main entrance on Dundas Street (West of Richmond Street) and an alternate entrance from Covent Market Place … from where I chose to enter.

The layout is extraordinary in that it forms a very long, narrow, north/south corridor, seemingly, 3 metres wide and 35 metres long, with tables along just one side.

I walked almost the entire length of the ‘corridor’ without any sign of staff and, therefore, chose my own table and sat down.  A few moments later, the lone server appeared with plates for distant customers, noticed me, and presented an interesting menu.

I chose;  Mushroom soup with paprika (Hungarian soup), the fish 'Catch Of The Day' (Atlantic cod), and a decent glass of recommended Pinot Grigio wine.

The soup was good, but not extraordinarily, and my remarkable story begins about 15 minutes later.

Hungarian Soup

As I sat there, occasionally checking my watch, the server walked slowly towards me, stopped, looked casually at me and said, “Menu?”.  I replied, “Thank you.” adding, “I’m just waiting for my main course”.  A sudden look of shock appeared on his face (that would have been perfect on an episode of ‘Faulty Towers’) and with the word “Catch!” he (like Manuel) made a dash to the kitchen.

Atlantic Cod on Wild Rice

It was a long 20-minute wait, interspersed with bowing comments of “The feesh will be ready in a few minutes.” (Artistic licence).  The Cod on wild rice was very good, but the accompanying pieces of over-cooked (burnt) pan-fried courgettes were a disappointment.  I have a sense that the chef had been very surprised by my order.

I tipped too much.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Photo - Monstera Deliciosa

I am becoming concerned that the plant that occupied a 10-inch pot just over a year ago, a Monstera Deliciosa (Swiss-cheese plant) is considering the occupation of my entire living room.  Sometimes, I wonder if, one morning, I will wake up to discover a python curled up beneath it.

Monstera Deliciosa 

Notes;  (a) I read that, in its natural environment, it has fruit that taste between a banana and a pineapple  ... I must have a word with my Superstore manager.  (b) The unbalanced appearance is the result of taking cuttings. (c) In its natural environment, it has been known to climb to 20 meters ... please!

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Confidence Vote

I am preparing to write a script for a movie.  ‘Confidence Vote’.

Of course, it is political.  There is an introduction of a Canadian forest with falling, colour-changing, leaves through which can be seen a column of prestigious mounted police (All actors).  Then a drone’s-eye view of the Canadian flag atop the parliament building (The previous one).  In the background one can hear the music — The March of the Trudeaus.

Scene I:  The PM happily telling the ex-AG that she has been awarded the post of MVA.  Fade to a horde of excited media.

Scene II:  The new MVA happily telling the PM that she will resign.  Fade to imaginary TV studio screens, to the sound of clattering keyboards.

Scene III:  The ex-AG (For want of a title) is seen sitting at an investigation committee table facing a mixed number of members sitting at an artificially-raised bench (Artistic licence).  On one side are a number of recognizable and respected members, and on the other side sits a number of undergraduate interns (All comedic actors).  Thus, follows, a humorous. yet agonizing,  period of questioning where the ex-AG is heard to answer effortlessly.

Scene IV:  Fast forward -- General Election;  The PM, fearful of removing the ex-AG from caucus, loses a Vote of Confidence from his party and consequently, his position as Party Leader.  Fade to foreign TV screens and unintelligible voices.

Scene V:  The ex-AG wins her seat with a huge majority … and becomes the new PM (Just an assumption).

Scene VI:  Unable to accommodate the ex-PM within the Cabinet, he is offered an important diplomatic post as Canadian Ambassador to … China.

What do you think so far?

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Cataract Surgery

Recently, I have been having cataract surgery on my eyes (Well, of course, I wouldn’t have cataract surgery on my knees).  I am sure that many of you have experienced this surgery, but I wish to address those who have yet to have this experience.

For many years, I tried to prepare myself for what I thought would be an agonizing encounter.  Everyone told me that it is a simple 5-minute surgery, but it was impossible to dismiss the thought of being fully awake, creating nightmares of ‘dodging the knife’ and disastrous consequences.

In my case, I presented, admitting that I had eaten a good breakfast, only to be told (with some annoyance) that by having food in my stomach, I could not be given a sedative … meaning that the arms of Morpheus would not be available.  Thus, a return of the nightmare.

Having waited for more than a year, cancellation was out of the question.

The pre-op consisted of putting various drops into my eye to ‘freeze’ it, and strapping my head to the bed (It occurred to me that there was absolutely nothing on Earth that could stop me trying to avoid a sharp scalpel).  Very bright lights close to my eye were switched on, and I was aware that things were moving around, but there was no pain and ten minutes later I heard the surgeon say, “That’s it.”

Arriving back in the pre/post-op room, I was invited to sit in a comfortable armchair and given a carton of orange juice and cookies.

The reason for writing this was to say, ‘GREAT NEWS’.  Because of the bright lights, you will see nothing and, because of the ‘freezing’ you will feel nothing, and NOBODY EVER TOLD ME THIS.

 Now, my duty is done.

P.S.  I did not enjoy the six weeks applying medicine eye drops, 5-times each day, following the surgery.

Monday, 7 January 2019

International Spies

Vague Rules of Law

From police states to liberal democracies, there are laws from governing immigration to home security and human rights that are well known, ignored, or quite vague.  Today, the point is being made that immigration is out of control, due to laws being ignored by foreign populations assuming their ignorant rights to cross international borders, and governments colluding with these people for political gain based on a fear that human rights could be ignored.

This begs the question;  Whose rights are more important, the citizen whose livelihood is being eroded  by uncontrolled immigration, or the immigrants who seek economic assistance to better their lives.  Today, a UK media story details government pensions to senior citizens being approximately 60% of social payments being given to so-called (officially undefined status) refugees.

There is another, related, example of vague laws;  international spies.  China has been arresting foreigners for years, usually for political reasons, but China is not alone in this matter, in fact, many countries play a game of ‘tit for tat’ with each other.  These actions become problematical when rules of law become so vague that when statements are made, for example, authorities in Beijing giving only vague details about detentions, saying that someone was "suspected of engaging in activities endangering national security" while insisting any arrests were lawful.  The present situation (The arrest and detention of two Canadians in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, resulting from a request from the United States for her extradition to face charges of fraud and violating international sanctions against Iran) needs expert clarification. 

Left unsaid are the many examples of arrested foreigners who, apparently, were ‘endangering national security’, and still remain, usually, unidentified.

Personally, having lived and worked in China, I am very aware of the vague regulations (based on laws) that may trap foreigners into difficult positions.  For example, foreigners over the age of 65 are not permitted to work in government institutions, i.e., universities.  Knowing this, as a young 65-year old, I left feeling annoyed.  There are other foreign teachers who stay, in collusion with the universities, who would eventually be arrested, deported, and banned from future visa issue.  This would be followed by useless TV interviews … and life goes on.  This applies equally to younger ex-pats who may be seen lounging outside various bars every evening, feeling quite nonchalant about their long-expired visas.

The moral of this comment is;  resist arrogant thought that regulations in other countries should not apply to foreigners … if you go around with your eyes closed, you will soon trip up.