Sunday, 22 December 2013

So Here It Is Merry Christmas....

The weather has been dire this weekend, very wet and very windy and it doesn't look like it is giving up anytime soon. So what better thing can you do except snuggle up on the settee with a purry, furry and watch the Strictly final. More on that later.

I finally started to feel a bit festive yesterday. I watched White Christmas while wrapping presents and then listened to Roy Wood singing 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day'. That song is my all time favourite Christmas song and guaranteed to get me in the mood no matter what.

I kept my word and, apart from cooking lunch, spent the whole day resting and I must say I feel better for it this morning. I still have a slightly dodgy throat and I still have my cough, I don't think I'm ever going to be free of that, but on the whole I'm feeling better. So I'm looking towards, I won't say forward because it just wouldn't be true, to a very busy festive week in work. I've drawn the short straw and am working right through Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day but come Friday I'm off and we will all be together. Then we will lock the doors and windows and have our own private Christmas celebration. That is what I'm really looking forward too, and that is what I will be focusing on to get me through this week.

Today I have something else to look forward too. Jenny and her family are stopping overnight on their way back to London. This time we will be taking photographs, which will be displayed here sometime next weekend. I still cannot believe we didn't take any last time we were together. This time I've been told to sit still and take things easy as they will cook for me. I'm still making a blackberry and apple crumble though, as they so liked it last time.

So this afternoon there will be a little flurry of activity as we remove the wrapping paper and sellotape from the dining table and Hoover up the glitter that seems to get everywhere without any help from us. Fortunately we've managed to restrain our 'dumping everything on the coffee table' habit and everywhere is still neat and tidy.

In the news I read two stories today, one made me feel really happy, the other angered me.

First off the exciting news that in France they have managed to implant the first totally artificial heart. The device weighs about three times that of a real heart and should keep the patient going for at least five years. The operation was carried out earlier this week and initial signs are good. This is potentially good news for those waiting for heart transplants. If this technique works it could be used to keep a patient alive, with a reasonable quality of life, until a suitable heart can be found. It could, with future refinements become an alternative to heart transplant for some patients. I am constantly amazed at these medical advancements, maybe one day a similar device will be invented for those of us in need of new lungs. Anything, it seems, is possible.

The piece of news that made me angry was a piece written in the Daily Mail. This piece is an interview with drug mule Melissa Reid's parents. In it they moan and whine about how unfairly their daughter has been treated. They complain that she will miss 'the best years of her life' in jail despite the fact that she will only be twenty seven when she gets out. Apparently their daughter's predicament is everyone's fault except her own. I would argue that if that's the way Melissa has been brought up to think then no wonder she is in the mess she is now.

Let's look at the facts. Melissa and her now friend, then stranger, Michaella McCollum Connolly, were caught trying to smuggle eleven kilos of cocaine out of Peru. When caught they cooked up an elaborate story about being kidnapped, drugged and threatened by a gang, none of which either girl could name or describe any members of. They said they were scared, didn't have a choice and didn't know what to do. Well of course they had a choice. They could have gone to the authorities at any point and said 'look I'm being forced to smuggle this stuff, please help me', but they didn't. Instead they went through with it because they thought it would be easy money, I think each one was promised £22,000 for packing the stuff, inexpertly, into their suitcases.

I suspect both girls could see only pound signs and were convinced that two young, reasonably attractive, giggly girls wouldn't attract any attention and they'd sail through customs without blinking an eye. Goodness knows how they were caught but something gave them away. Maybe there had been a tip off, maybe they had boasted to someone about what they were doing, neither strikes me as very bright, or maybe they were just a little too loud and giggly. How they were caught really doesn't matter but the facts are that they thought they'd get away with it and then lied about it.

If I were Melissa's mother, yes, I'd be bloody furious, but not with the sentence, the judge, or the officers that caught her. I would be directing all my anger at Melissa and asking her how she could be so bloody stupid. Her father thinks 'the sentence is too harsh and doesn’t sit with the crime. They’re first-time offenders and they didn’t instigate it.' No but they went along with it didn't they. Personally, if I were him, I'd be offering up a prayer of thanks that they didn't get given the full fifteen years Peru normally hands out for this sort of crime. Six years, with some of it possibly spent back in Britain, isn't that harsh considering what they've done. They would probably got the same or even worse in Britain.

And let's just say that they had got away with it. Would they have gone back and done it again? I'm willing to bet they would. I'm also willing to bet they would have gone on doing it as long as they didn't get caught. Sometimes you have no one to blame but yourself. Melissa and her parents would be wise to learn that lesson, preferably before she's released to do something else equally as stupid.

Strictly Watch

Well here we are with the last 'watch' of the series. Hasn't it gone quickly?

To be honest I wasn't really looking forward to an all girl final and in some ways my fears were realised. The show lost a bit of 'umph' that the male celebrities are able to give. There were plenty of lifts but they all felt rather safe. Even Suzanna and Kevin's neck breaking twirl came across as a little flat. I had to agree with Darcy, it just didn't have the 'wow' factor. On the other end of the scale Natalie's show dance was all a little too frenetic, they threw everything in and came across just that little bit desperate. Sophie and Abbey just did what they did best. They looked pretty and elegant and danced like dreams but again the 'wow' was missing.

Maybe I've been spoiled by the acrobatics of Lewis Smith or the sheer joy and style of Chris Hollins, his Charleston was even better than Sophie's, but the show definitely lacked 'something'.

Talking of which, I was surprised and bitterly disappointed that Sophie was voted off first and didn't get to dance her Charleston again. That was the one dance I really wanted to see. I was also looking forward to seeing Hairy Dave 'Dance Like Jagger' and Mark do his 'MC Hammer' but this year they just had a few seconds each in a group dance. Again, very disappointed.

Away from the dancing Bruce was having a whale of a time and at one point I thought he was going to give himself a heart attack. He decided to show the TV audience how busy he was during the show and demonstrated this by running up and down a flight of stairs several times. He must be remarkable fit for his age but I listened to the news this morning with some trepidation I must say. However he survived and made the most of his last chance to fondle Tess Daly's leg before flying off somewhere warm for the winter. I know he annoys a lot of people but I do hope he returns again next year.

Tess surprised us all by wearing something rather tasteful in the first show. She was back on form in the second show though, wearing a scrunched up, empty chocolate box. At one point she seemed to be in competition with Abbey as to how much she could toss her hair around. For goodness shake, why not have it styled so it doesn't fall in your eyes?

So the big moment came and all I could do was pray, 'not Natalie, not Natalie' and my prayer came true. Abbey is the new Strictly champion and, out of all of the finalists, probably the most deserving. Abbey, unlike Sophie and Natalie, had never danced a step in her life. I'm not sure if Suzanna had, I think I remember reading she'd had some training.  Anyway, out of all of them Abbey was the one who'd come into it without a clue and because of that reason alone, I think she was a worthy winner.



As I am working now until Friday. I'd like to take this opportunity of wishing all my readers a very happy and healthy Christmas. Take care and stay safe. Next blog Saturday.