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Please vote for my wonderful neighbour, Rachel, who's entered into an online competition to win a wing walk.

By way of background, Rachel had to take very early retirement due to ill-health. She has Crohn's Disease and has to use crutches to walk with due to badly hurting her knee. Despite this, when she's well she hasn't let her ill health from stopping her getting on with things - such as teaching herself plumbing and electrics and DIY, where she's so good that builders I've hired have offered her a job! She's one of these very capable people who could do anything...except when her condition flares up and then she has to rest until she's well enough to function again, which I know she finds very frustrating and upsetting.

She'll do anything for everyone to help out when she's well enough, is always on hand to help and would really love the chance to wing walk (even with a dodgy knee and crutches!).

If you can spare moment to vote for her, you'll not only make her very happy but if she wins but she'll also donate £100 to Comic Relief, so it's win win!

She's no 13 on the link below.

You have to vote for three participants so please be as random as possible with the other votes (as we want her to win!).

Also, if you could consider sending re-blogging this so that even more people see this and vote for Rachel that would be fabulous! Please help Rachel win - it would be lovely to make her so happy!
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Happy Birthday Stealingpennies

Hope that you're having a lovely day!
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Wishing [ profile] pinkdormouse a very Happy Birthday

Hope that you're having a good one!
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Happy Birthday, Seiyaharris

Hope that you're having a great day.
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Happy Birthday, Temaris

Have a wonderful (if cold!) day :)
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Happy Birthday Beren and Thwax

May your day be lovely and long :)
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Happy Birthday, [ profile] lost_house

Have you're having a fabulous day!
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Has anyone managed to receive a complete set as advertised on the packaging of this, complete with all the special features?

The version I recently received from Amazon UK doesn't have the special features and the discs inside are labelled wrongly. It appears that the manufacturer has inserted the discs from the Season 4 box sets Parts 1 and 2, which were sold separately earlier, and which don't have the special features. Amazon have now stopped selling the complete box set as a result of this problem and I'm trying to ascertain whether it's universal or whether Warner Home Video have managed to screw up some batches and not others.

I'm going to return my set to Amazon and after a certain amount of whining on my part they even gave me a £5 credit on my next purchase. At the time I thought it was their fault but now see that customers who bought from Play have had the same problem as well. So, I am feeling a tad guilty on Amazon's behalf...

However, I'm feeling even more annoyed at Warner Home Video's failure. I don't want to have to purchase the Region 1 version from or as I'll end up paying massive postal charges, plus may get stung by Customs for import duty as well. So, I'm trying to find out if anyone has got the correct Region 2 version.

Really not happy - talk about false advertising by Warner and it may end up hurting SPN Season 4 DVD sales as well as a result of Warner's screw-up.
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Happy Birthday, [ profile] moonlettuce

Hope you're having a fabulous day!
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Two celebrations today.

Have a very Happy Birthday [ profile] zellieh and [ profile] tikiberry
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Very Happy Birthday to the4ts & stageira

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Happy Birthday Kittygoslingp

Hope you're having a wonderful day.
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Happy Birthday Pinkdormouse

Hope you're having a great day.
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Happy Birthday seiyaharris

Hope that you're having a lovely day - am just back from celebrating my sister's birthday - you're a lot younger than she is!
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Happy Birthday, ngaio

Hope you're having a great day.
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Happy Birthday Alyse!

Have a fabulous day, you springchicken, you! :)
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Happy Birthday Olympia_m!

Hope you've been having a fabulous day.
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Have just turned over from Heroes and have watched a mere 5 (count 'em, 5) minutes of LAW & Order UK.

So far, the CPS have invited a couple of defendants and the solicitor into the CPS offices for a plea bargain, with a certainty of the sentence to be served if they plead guilty. Which is just... No!

And Freema's been running round the streets of London interviewing a witness, in the street! Words fail me.

5 minutes, that's all. And that 5 minutes is enough to establish that it bears no resemblance to the actual practice of law.

Oh, they've just got one of the defendants in with the same solicitor who represented both defendants earlier but not with the other defendant and are offering him (one of the defendants) a bargain if he'll testify against the other defendant. Oh, 'cos that's not a conflict of interest at all, is it on the part of the solicitor?

Crap. Complete crap. It's been...8 minutes now and that's enough to establish that it may rival Judge John Deed for badness. *cries*
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Happy Birthday Xandutch!

Hope that you're having a lovely day.
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Just heard an interview with a couple of the actors (including Freema and Ben Daniels) on the forthcoming Law & Order UK on the Jonathan Ross Saturday morning show. I was thinking I might give this one a go until Freema said that the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) lawyers in the programme are going to go out and about interviewing witnesses. Because that's what they do in the US version.


*headdesks again. Violently*

It's a completely fucking separate legal system, where we do things oh so differently. To try and mirror it on the US series means that it will be about as accurate as Dick van Dyke's 'Cockney' accent in Mary Poppins.

And what makes it worse is that the head of the CPS seems to have had a brain fart as he suggested that this would be okay 'because in 5 years time CPS lawyers will interview witnesses'. No they fucking won't! Because that would mean that the CPS would have to recruit an enormous amount of extra lawyers (there's not enough time for the existing lawyers to do their job as it, without them having to go out to see witnesses all round the country) and there's no way that the CPS will get the extra budget in the largest economic downturn since WW2! I mean, as it is there was a time recently when the CPS (in London) literally ran out of paper because they'd run out of money to buy more. If they can't afford paper, they're not going to be able to afford to practically double in size.

Oh, and let's not even get into why it's so important for CPS lawyers to maintain a sense of detachment that the officers in the case - who see the victims and interview the witnesses - may lack. Prosecutor's code, anyone?

And then there's the health and safety implications. Police officers are taught self-defence and how to handle themselves in violent situations. Lawyers are not. Which means that half the time the CPS lawyer would have to take police officers along with them. What a waste of resources!

Yes, I suppose it's possible that there are at present high-level discussions going on at present between the CPS and Ministry of Justice about changing the way that the CPS works. But, the problem with the extra budget necessary to recruit more lawyers isn't going to go away any time soon.

Bugger! I had hopes that this would a good, watchable drama, as well, as it has a lot of actors I like.

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Sloped off to the pub at 16:55 this afternoon with people from work to watch the inauguration, due at 17:00 London time.

The pub was pretty full (very unusual for a Tuesday afternoon) and the TV already turned to the inauguration. Everyone was watching.

Obama was sworn in and the whole pub (including the lawyers) clapped and cheered. None of us were American.

Obama's speech was watched with rapt attention and approving murmurs - the nod to non-believers (bunch of Godless Brits), the reference to science, the message (obvious but not explicit) that extraordinary rendition and internment must stop, the call to those who use violence to open their fists. Oh, and a ripple of amusement at the past reference (non-specific but obviously to the Founding Fathers) to the enemy at the gate, on the basis that the enemy in those days had been, er, us. *g*

Afterwards, general agreement that it had been a very impressive performance, not making light of the problems and acknowledging the difficulties ahead but most of all giving a sense of hope, of change. For the better.

Oh, and that Michelle looked lovely and had Bill (Clinton) been trying to peer down her dress! (Clinton remains very popular in Britain, BTW, so it was said with a wry acknowledgment of his foibles). Also, that Obama remains rather fanciable. *g*

Congratulations America on your new President.
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Happy Birthday Saffronra

Hope you enjoy the day anyway, despite the incipient bout of the obligatory seasonal virus. And a very Happy New Year to you and R.
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Happy Birthday Temaris
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Happy Birthday Beren_writes and Thwax

Hope that you're both having a wonderful day.
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A very Happy Birthday to Seph!
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Oh mother my mouth is full of stars

As cartridges in the tray

My blood is a twin-branched scarlet tree

And it runs all runs away;

Oh cooks to the galley is sounded off

And the lads are down in the mess

But I lie down by the forward gun

With a bullet in my breast.

Don’t send me a parcel at Christmas time

Of socks and nutty and wine

And don’t depend on a long week-end

By the Great Western line.

Farewell Aggie-Weston. The barracks at Guz,

Hang my tiddley suit on the door

I’m sewn up neat in a canvas sheet,

And I shan’t be home no more.

By Charles Causley

We observed the two minutes silence this morning at 11 am. An announcement was made at quarter to eleven asking us all to remember and keep our silence. Everyone did. And after it was over one of our people, who sounded like an old soldier himself (entirely possible, even probable) recited over the intercom:
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

And from somewhere he'd found a recording of 'The Last Post', which he played as he spoke.

I found myself to be very much moved. As were all my colleagues, (usually) cynical lawyers all.

Never forget.
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After an extended hiatus, am very happy that [ profile] alsoa is back, in her new guise of [ profile] stealingpennies.

Fantastic to see you back, hon.

Not only that, but she comes bearing fanfic - Merlin fanfic. As always, it's a lovely piece of work. Gen, but I detect slashy overtones. Unsurprising, really. *g* So, if you appreciate well written, adult fanfiction featuring pretty boys who no doubt will (eventually) get round to shagging, go over here and enjoy.
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Wishing a very

Happy Birthday to Claire

Have a great (rest of) the day, hon.
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Happy Birthday to...

Zellieh and Tikiberry

Hope you're both having a great day.
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I persevered and finally reached the end. For me, this is officially the worst episode of Bones I've ever seen.

What else? )
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*whimpers in pain*

Read more... )
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Now they're interviewing Read more... )
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Oh God. 15 minutes in and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to continue.

The fuck!

No, no, fucking no!

You see this episode is set in )
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Happy Birthday Kittygoslingp

In not long before the wire! Hope you had a lovely day, hon.
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Happy Birthday [ profile] pinkdormouse

I hope that you're having a lovely day despite the rain!
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My first trip to Poland but, I suspect, not my last.

Krakow was, quite simply, wonderful. Beautifully elegant, easily accessible, friendly. And with bloody good food!

I'm sure it didn't hurt that we were staying in a 5 star hotel, which was highly conveniently placed for the amazing Rynek Glowny (Market Square), the largest medieval square in Europe and which is the heart of Krakow - it's the centre around which all other streets revolve. We were also close to Wawel Castle (the epicentre of Polish heritage), and within easy walking reach of Kazimierz, the historic Jewish district and where Spielberg filmed Schindler's List. Actually, the whole of Old Town Krakow is within easy walking distance and is best experienced on foot.

As for the food, well thankfully the old, dull days of the Communist bloc are a dim, distant memory. Nowadays Krakow has a very lively food scene, ranging from traditional Polish cuisine (which was delicious), and Jewish food (ditto), to modern fusion cooking, or Italian, or Greek, or Chinese, or French, or, well, pretty much anything you could ask for. There were even a couple of McDonalds, but so far Krakow remains unsullied by any other fast food chain. It was also pretty cheap, even taking into account the exchange rate *winces*. The Polish zloty is tied to the Euro, so sterling buys about 17% less than a year ago. My guidebooks suggested that the Polish standard of service was erratic at best but I certainly didn't find it to be so. Service was uniformly excellent, prompt, efficient and friendly. It may be that a couple of years ago the Poles hadn't quite mastered the nuances of good service but they definitely have now.

I was interested to observe the nationality of visitors. The largest contingent was definitely British (perhaps spurred by curiosity, as so many Polish workers have come to Britain in recent years), although there was a fair sprinkling of Americans. There was a small (very small) horde of Japanese, and I heard a fair few French and Italians. Plus a few Germans. In old Krakow pretty much everyone speaks at least a bit of English (it was the lingua franca of international discourse) and at all the tourist sites everything was in both Polish and English. It's obvious that the Poles are trying hard to forget their Russian and replace it with English instead. Great for me, especially as Polish is a pretty difficult language to pronounce.

Outside of Krakow we visited The Wieliczka salt mine, which is the oldest working mine in the world (dating back to the 10th or 12 century, depending on which story you believe). And, yes, okay some of the carvings are a bit kitsch, but, oh my God, some of the chapels, especially the largest, the Chapel of St Kinga, were amazing. Everything inside, including the chandeliers, are made out of salt.

Where else? Auschwitz-Birkenau. I'm glad that I went, even though the more I think about it, the more angry and tearful I become. Because I knew, you see, how the inmates were treated, both at the work camp of Auschwitz and the death camp of Birkenau. I've seen documentaries, viewed the footage of the mounds of human hair, the shoes, the spectacles. But knowing and seeing are two very different things. Their treatment was so horrible that there are no words. I remain haunted by the photographs of inmates lining the walls of one of the buildings. On each photograph is the date of arrival and the date of death. The average is no more than 6 months and for women considerably less (about a month). And these are the people who weren't sent straight to the gas chambers, the 20% or so who were 'fit to work'. And so they were worked to death instead. Not one person in any of the photographs survived.

There were a lot of visitors there. Which I think bodes well - the more people who visit the less we are tempted to forget. Again, the largest contingent of non-Polish (there were quite a lot of school trips) were the British, which isn't unusual according to my guide. There was also a large group of Israelis, praying for the murdered.

If you ever go to Krakow, and if you can face it do go to Auschwitz-Birkenau . I don't think you'll regret it.

And I know that you won't regret visiting Krakow. Honestly, I enjoyed it so much more than Prague, and I gather that it compares very favourably with Budapest, too. Krakow. The jewel of Poland.
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Just watched the version shown for the first time on British TV and any one who saw the US version might be interested to know...

Cutting for spoilers Read more... )
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And it's pink. And purple. With reaaaally long eyelashes.


*blows kisses to [ profile] the4ts

Sweetie, you're too good to us. Well, to [ profile] moonlettuce and me, anyway.
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Happy Birthday Alyse

Hah, am back home early from a training course and am able to wish Al a timely birthday. Hope you're having a great day!
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Whoever gifted me with the box of chocolates (you know me too well...*g*). Thank you so much. *smooches*

Also, the birthday party for [ profile] klo_the_hobbit and myself at Peg3. Those bad girls on the LJ filter. *g* I honestly had no idea, and I don't think that Klo did either. It was a lovely, lovely surprise - all the balloons, and the glitter. And the champagne. And the cake. Oh, was there cake.

So, thank you so very much to [ profile] alyse, [ profile] beren_writes, [ profile] moonlettuce, [ profile] saffronra, [ profile] seiyaharris, [ profile] temaris, [ profile] the4ts, [ profile] thwax and [ profile] xandutch. Love you all!
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