Tuesday, 18 June 2013
He's done it again. That master of historical fiction Bernard Cornwell (Sharpe, The Warlord Chronicles) has a new book available to pre-order which is what I'm just about to do. The blurb reads...
The Hundred Years War rages on and the bloodiest battles are yet to be fought. Across France, towns are closing their gates, the crops are burning and the country stands alert to danger. The English army, victorious at the Battle of Crécy and led by the Black Prince, is invading again and the French are hunting them down.
Thomas of Hookton, an English archer known as Le Bâtard, is under orders to seek out the lost sword of St Peter, a weapon said to grant certain victory to whoever possesses her. As the outnumbered English army becomes trapped near the town of Poitiers, Thomas, his men and his sworn enemies meet in an extraordinary confrontation that ignites one of the greatest battles of all time.
And here's the trailer:
If you're looking for some gripping summer reading, this could be it.
Sunday, 16 June 2013
A wonderful, bespoke breakfast (courtesy of McCain) comprising of bacon, egg, mushroom, black pudding and - of course - McCain's Hash Browns. Good start, eh?
Then what? Well, how about a little light (well, heavy) singing courtesy of the Parish Church Patronal Festival (think Father's Day but for a huge cathedral-sized religious building) followed by a well-earned cider (courtesy of eponymous son) sipped - well, gulped - from a special Henry Weston's glass. And then? Well, we all know dads are just big kids at heart so how better to celebrate Father's Day than by playing with the old toys - or even new toys. Did you know that Matchbox is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year? They haven't changed a bit, look...
What has changed - just a bit - is Hot Wheels which I remember as being a fun game with fast cars and a run of orange track but which now - courtesy of Hot Wheels Ballistics - fires balls that turn into cars and then then back to balls and generally end up everywhere.
Nb. at this point I would usually have inserted a short illustrative video of my own but a combination of cider and some really lovely liqueur chocolates courtesy of Hotel Chocolat (it really has been a bumper day) has made my camera work a little shaky. I'm sure you'll a forgive me. After all, it's Father's Day.
Friday, 14 June 2013
In just one minute, everything can change. A family can be torn apart by war. A child can be separated from his parents. A lifetime of work can be destroyed. Yet in a minute, you can act and support a family forced to flee. There are many significant and imaginative ways to get involved, including joining the UNHCR's 1 Thing campaign.
Magbola Alhadi and her children survived months of bombing raids but were forced to flee when soldiers came and opened fire on their village. The most important thing she brought with her was this pot. It was small enough to carry on their 12-day journey, yet big enough to cook for her family.
Imagine if your family had just 1 minute to flee...
What would you take?
You can see what others chose on the UNHCR's 'Most Important Thing' Pinterest Board where you can add your choice to the growing collection of pins.
Whatever you choose to do, do something.
Because we're lucky. We can.
Wednesday, 12 June 2013
Well. No doubt some are. No doubt some Germans lack a sense of humour as did the one I once encountered who berated me (as a representative of the United Kingdom) for enjoying the TV comedy Dad's Army ('Vy do you eenglish perpetuate ze var?') not quite seeing that the joke was on us.
The Netmums survey (from which the findings about lazy dads come) is depressing not because it reveals that 93% of parents interviewed think the media perpetuates a negative stereotype of the feckless dad but because anyone cares.
It's like saying over 90% of us form our opinion of private landlords from Rising Damp, or that we regard all hoteliers as being like Basil Fawlty.
But that's not all. Because today the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall make a guest appearance in The Beano. Which really does raise questions about the nature of truth and reality.
Because we all know which ones are the cartoon characters and which ones are the real deal there. Don't we?
Sunday, 9 June 2013
Instead, how about one of these? James at 'Buyagift' has been in touch with an inspirational list of gifts and activities for dad, including...
If none of the above grabs you, you could always make dad a simple bacon sarnie. Most dads love a bacon sarnie. With HP Sauce, of course. And talking of sauce, if you pop over to the HP Sauce Facebook page right now you could win one of 100 special personalised HP Sauce bottles for dad. It's got his name on it!
Proctor & Gamble is keen to celebrate the importance of dads too - and not just for the big, car-mending, mortgage-grinding, food providing things parents do but for the little things, the everyday things that make all the difference. They write:
Did you realise that when you held your child’s hand on the way to nursery it made him feel excited and confident about playing with the other children? Or when you explained the changing seasons to your children they felt like you were the cleverest person in the world?
We believe that the “ordinary” things you do every day have an amazing impact for the whole family, which is why our mission is to make products that help towards making everyday life that little bit better. We’re calling this the Everyday Effect.
To celebrate Father’s Day they're offering a free hamper of P&G goodies (see below) to help one lucky reader enjoy a bit of the Everyday Effect. All you need to do is help me with a little research of my own. Leave a comment below before Wednesday telling me (if you're a dad) what you'd like most this Father's Day or (if you're not) what you're thinking of buying the dad in your life.