Thursday, 30 June 2011

The elevator…

When I was studying, I lived for four years in the same flat, first with my brother and then with a friend. It was located in the city centre, a walking distance from the university. The flat was in an old building; probably built around the 50s and it was on the 7th floor. You entered the flat in a small hallway turning left to the kitchen and bathroom and right to two bedrooms via the living room.

Since the flat was old, the arrangement of the rooms wasn’t great. In the corner of the living room there was a huge pillar. It stood 45 cm from one wall and around 1.20 cm from the other. That created a dead space in the corner of the room which was very difficult to use. Unfortunately, it was too big to use for pole dancing. Also, the floors creaked tremendously and we were always aware in which room the people living above us were. OK, the state of the flat wasn’t the best but we were young and the place was cheap. Also, since it was in the city centre it was a meeting point of friends and colleagues. We frequently had people just popping in for a coffee and for a quick chat which I loved.

What was amazing in that flat was the size of the balcony. It was bigger than the living room and we frequently just sat there enjoying the sun having frappe coffee and playing backgammon according to Greek student traditions. What was memorable about that flat was its elevator. Everybody commented on that. It was amazingly tiny and very slow! It could hardly fit three slim people in it and took ages to climb from the ground to the 7th floor. Especially on warm summer days it was a slow torture…

On the first four floors there were doctor practices. And not just any practices, they were psychiatrists, psychologists and neurosurgeons occupying them. Sometimes I had to share the very tiny elevator with lets say slightly odd looking people visiting these practices. I can’t forget a very warm August summer day. It must have been around 38 degrees outside and boiling hot. Before I pressed the number 7 in the elevator another man entered. He was in his early forties and rather big. I wasn’t tiny either during these years and the elevator after doing some weird noises started its slow painful climb.

Before we reached the first floor my co-passenger commented on the very warm weather and how it affects him. Before reaching the second floor he told me he is schizophrenic and the hot weather is worsening his condition. By the third floor we were both badly sweating when he told me that every 6 months or so he has to pass a psychiatric evaluation from appointed doctors about whether he should be admitted to a hospital or stay free. He got off on the 4th floor. At first I felt a bit threatened by him and uneasy. I feared that he might snap in that tiny hot space. When we did arrive on his floor and he started getting off, I did feel sorry for him and I wished him all the luck which he accepted smiling. Of course I never knew what happened…

In that same elevator a year later we found a notice by the Police attached on the mirror. It was regarding the flat on the 5th floor. They had already arrested the ‘Lady’ of the flat and they were looking for some other women ‘working’ in the place who managed to escape! They were listed by the Police as sex workers! A day later a very handsome Policeman came to ask questions about it. I tried to be as helpful as I could but to be honest we had absolutely no idea about what was going on. Being students we had really weird schedules and we sometimes spent all-nighters trying to finish projects but we never took notice of anything illegal happening. It then occurred to us that maybe some of the weird looking people we saw getting off the elevator weren’t visiting the doctors but the ladies of the 5th floor…

Henri de Toulouse lautrec (1894) Salon de la rue des moulins

Generally, I have a lot of stories to say regarding that flat. It was there that I enjoyed some of the best carefree years of my life and I also found what love is with another man…

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The wind of change

As I’ve mentioned before, lots of things are happening in my life, stressful, exciting, life changing things. A fortnight ago, I received a call from an agent. Having no much luck the previous times, I didn’t expect much. I received the call; I talked about the position and agreed to go for it.

The next morning, really early, I met that agent in a nearby train station. He was on his way to work and it was early enough for me to meet him before my work. According to Murphy’s Law something had to go wrong, so his train broke down and he was 45 minutes late! We did meet at the end for a very short period of time but I think that meeting went quite well even if I had an eye at my watch about being late.

That first successful meeting with the agent put me on the right track to get the job. You see, the agent was acting as the company’s HR, screening people. He would put only a handful of people to be interviewed by the company. Funnily enough my relationship with the agent grew in a weird way. At some point we were on the phone 6 to 7 times a day without counting the list of emails. He was sending me emails at 10pm and then sending me a text message at 7:40am to see if I read it! By now, I’ve told him stuff like to drink juices and lots of water when he was feeling under the weather and he was telling me stories about the new trampoline he bought his kids. He was generally putting a lot of pressure on me with all these calls, but at the end it all went well!

Beginning of last week I met with the managers who will be in charge of the new role. The same day I was flying to Greece I met the head of IT and the head of HR! These meetings lasted for more than 1 hour and a half leaving me quite drained from energy. By the time I was rushing to the airport I received the phone call from the agent that I was offered the position!!!!

Excited as I was feeling, I couldn’t but feel stressed about what to say to my current (now ex) company and colleagues. This was the first job I got after finishing my studies in the UK and I’ve been in that position for years. I do need to grow some thicker skin. I know. But it wasn’t very easy for me. I was playing various (bad) scenarios and fictional conversations every day before going to sleep for the last days.

To cut the story short I gave them my letter of resignation this Monday! I first talked to the HR and one of the directors. They were very nice. They expressed their sadness but understood my point of view and the reasons behind my decision. The big boss and one of the directors believe that it was ungrateful of me to leave them and they made it clear. My manager, my director and my colleagues here understand the reasons I had to change roles and some even mentioned they’ll miss me dreadfully.

What I am still waiting for is the confirmation of my references and a medical check by a doctor of the new company. I hope these will be OK otherwise I’ll simply be unemployed at the end of my notice period. I’m now ‘going’ corporate playing with the big boys and new rules. What I like about the new role is that I’ll learn about competitive and new technologies working in a company with prospective. Where I was until now was a small family company with absolutely nowhere to progress using technologies that are already half dead.

I’m very excited about the change.
I’m sad to leave some of my colleagues behind.
I’m stressed about that very first day in my new office.

What comes next is a notice period when I’ll try to close all pending issues I have. I’ll also try to leave specs and documents about things I’ve done in the past and where I’ve saved projects I’ve finished. I’ll try to be extra typical being always on time and willing to do things as normal. I don’t want them to think badly of me now.

In the same time, next week I’m leaving on my pre organised summer holidays. I’ll be gone for 12 days which will be a time to relax, celebrate and catch up with my boyfriend. He’s been a tremendous help and a willing listening ear to my thoughts and problems. I wasn’t always rational but he was there to listen to me patiently.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Weekend holidays

I had such a nice time being away for three days! Apart from the wedding where I saw some of my old university colleagues, I spent most of my time just with my parents. We mostly talked about the possible change of my career (that will be another post).

I arrived in Greece really early Friday morning. After a few hours of sleep we headed to my hometown and to a local beach. I feel very privileged to have this type of means to escape. The water and sandy beach was simply amazing.

You can click to zoom in the pictures:

A beach bar called 'Liquid' in an area called the 'Sand Dunes' (αμμόλοφοι)

Our very sexy waiter and people chilling looking at the sea.

Me, working on my tan

The view from my parents' place. You can see my hometown in the back

Second day's escape to the sea

The wedding Chapel, an old Church built in 1804

The bride being the first to lead the dance

Generally the wedding was great. The Chapel was up on a local mountain, isolated and romantic. The reception was planned according to customs. There was lots of nice food served and dancing. The first dance was performed only by the bride, groom and very close relatives. We did join in soon after that though. I hadn't dance Greek folklore dances in circles like that in ages. I can't say I'm an expert and that I know many of them, however I do enjoy myself. Some of them are really very difficult and complicated.

What I loved about the event was how much the bride and the groom enjoyed it. They weren't shy or tying to be 'proper', distant, like some other people I've seen. The bride was on the dance floor having the time of her life for almost the whole night jumping up and down and the groom was visiting each one of the tables in turns talking to people and having lots of drinks. Since I was dancing right next to the bride I believe I'm in the wedding video a lot!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Various news Wednesday…

I fear that this post will be another unfocused list of various thoughts, events and news. It’s not like I normally have a structured way of thinking anyway. I do live after all in my misspelled ‘bizarre world’, at least according to my url.


The issue currently occupying my brain is the next wave of interviews (plural) for my new job role tomorrow. I will however try to ignore the knot at my stomach and try to think of more happy stuff. I’m trying to make a list of what to pack. The fact that I’m going to a wedding on Saturday, which is the purpose of my journey, means that I’ll have to pack some ‘proper’ clothes and shoes. I’d love to only take t-shirts, shorts, swimwear and flip flops but I can’t. Also, my ‘lovely’ mother contacted me yesterday that she needs some beauty products only found in stores in central London. That means that I can’t carry only liquids of less than 100ml during my flight and I will have to check in a bag, which I didn’t plan to do before. Also, I do hate the last minute rushing to shops for this kind of things…

If only I could go in swimwear to a Greek wedding. At least I’ll be flying from rainy London of 17 C degrees (62 F) to sunny Greece of 32 C degrees (90 F).


On another note, the boyfriend ordered us special t-shirts for the London Pride the following week. Although I’m not sure if the weather will be so warm to wear only t-shirt but I hope it will be OK. I’m not exactly sure what he got, but I hope it’s something decent and maybe funny. I have the suspicion that he got me something ‘bear’ related. He knows that I freak out with extravagant outfits and I wouldn’t easily wear one (I can be shy), but I have him capable of getting me one just to wind me up.

Last year he was working and he couldn’t come. This year we plan to enjoy the day together. I don’t think we’ll get drunk and get mixed in the crowds, but I always like people watching on days like these. This is a picture of me from last year with a lovely couple that was standing next to us. Notice the leather, feathers and lace accessories. They were having champagne, I was having water...


My running event for October got cancelled because the organisers couldn’t agree on a route with the local Council. More likely the Council didn’t give any permission for some roads to be closed on the day. This sucks because I was looking forward to it. This event was my next fitness challenge. I’ve done two half marathons (13.1 miles) in the past and this ‘Kilomathon’ was supposed to be longer than that (around 16 miles).

As a matter of fact, I had already set up my fund raising website to help the ‘MacMillan Cancer Support’ charity. I was looking forward to running in their colours and receiving their green running gear. Now, I’ll try to find something different to do instead…

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Lost Pet

I've been having a crazy week so far. At the moment I'm chasing a new job opportunity (lots of stress). I'm also trying to get ready to fly to Greece on Thursday afternoon. I have a wedding to attend there on Saturday. Since I have Thursday and Friday off for that, I need to get some things ready till then.

Anyway, I'd like to say that I'm great and I hope to work on my tan this Friday.

I laughed so much yesterday when I saw the following flyer attached to a bus stop on Putney Bridge. You can click to enlarge:

Friday, 17 June 2011

It’s Friday!

I can’t tell you how happy I am its Friday! The other day, when I uploaded a whining post, I almost did what 'Urspo's Guide to a happy life'* suggested and instead of washing only my face, I took a bath! That doesn’t happen often. I’m usually a shower person since I don’t have the time for long baths, but this time it was much needed. I closed my eyes and sank into quite hot with bubbles water. It was pure bliss. After soaking for almost 20 minutes, I wasn’t even able to cook dinner. I simply collapsed on the sofa. The boyfriend (bless him) got some organic food from ‘Whole Foods Market’ and treated me, instead of me treating him home cooked dinner.

Mostly, the pressure I’ve been having the last days is caused by a new job opportunity I’m chasing. Of course I can’t say much about it but I think it’s going well. I do hate all the lying at my current employers though, trying to steal time for interviews etc. I’m also very lousy at negotiating for money. The agent I’m dealing with is putting way too much pressure on me sending emails and then text messages all the time. I’m currently speaking to him at least 5 times a day. Yesterday, I didn’t hear from him for more than 4 hours and I became very worried that something happened to him.

Anyway, I’ll have more news on that next week. I probably shouldn’t even have mentioned it. I will never underestimate again the power of hot water though…

*If you're not aware of Spo-Reflections, I suggest you do try to find them out.


On a different but also very happy note, the new issue of ‘Gay Times’ is out and oh boy, there are interesting eye candy in there. There’s an interview by Ben Cohen. I haven’t had the chance to read the article yet but I was very intrigued by the photos. That’s a small sample I found online. There are more in this issue..


Have an amazing weekend! Weather-wise it will be a bit miserable again but oh well, we’re used to it by now. Enjoy!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Yet another post about this…

You must be so bored by it by now. The never ending saga of Greece’s political and economic situation is well… never ending. For me it has reached this critical limit when I can’t but laugh at the situation!

For the new bailout which is yet to be decided, the current government (the socialists) made some announcements about further cuts in salaries, subsidizes, increasing taxes etc. I understand that there is nothing else to be done to repay the debt. I can’t believe that the Prime Minister (PM) is happy to make these announcements. However, other measures to be taken, like privatisation of governmental companies and assets are not generally talked about. People once again saw their income diminished.

General strikes and marches are a norm these days. Similarly to what was happening in Spain, people are permanently in the main Athens square called Sintagma (= Constitution), in front of the House of Parliament. Yesterday, it was decided by most Unions to be a general strike day. Most general strikes do happen on Wednesday. It’s mid week and probably most people prefer not to work (but that’s my cynicism talking).

The demonstrations are crowded but at the time peaceful. However, the PM is greeted by the marching people with eggs and other seasonal vegetables thrown at his car on his way to meet the President. The situation escalates and the known ‘Anonymous’ people join the marches. I’m referring to the group of people with hoods, covered faces, sticks and Molotov bombs, who are in war with the Police. These ‘Anonymous’ people after suspiciously being inactive for the last days were ignoring the people staying in the Syntagma square. However, yesterday they tried and managed to destroy the peaceful demonstrations.

People outside the House of Parliament

What happened next can be described as simply amazing.

The PM is in contact with the leader of the opposition (the conservatives) to form a governmental coalition that will include financial experts outside political parties to solve the problems. The opposition leader states that he will concur only if the current PM is not the leader of that coalition! Surprisingly enough the PM agrees and yesterday afternoon the Greek PM resigns to the President!

George Papandreou - the Greek Prime Minister

It’s not certain what happens next. The leader of the opposition makes a statement about a personal victory over the socialists and how it’s proven that they can’t govern the country properly. The way they handle the situation I personally believe is arrogant and improper. The current government becomes furious on the opposition reaction and the Greek PM un-resigns to the President (I know that’s not a proper word, but I can’t explain it)! He withdraws his resignation and states that such a coalition can never happen, only mere hours after his resignation. He now states that he'll change the ministers, reevaluate the situation and maybe create two ministries of financial affairs with some no MP members...

This must be a world’s first!

The supporters of the opposition state that the Greek PM is simply dangerous and even mentally unstable. The supporters of the government state that the conservatives are immature and greedy, only trying to personally gain from the bad situation! The rest of the political parties declared that a coalition government is unconstitutional (which I think is true) and they would never support it, until a referendum or elections are organised.

The outcome of course of this whole fiasco is that nothing’s being done and the situation daily worsens. For the whole day yesterday almost the whole country was on strike. I can’t think of any scenario that this helps the country pay back its debt.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


I’m juggling many balls at the time and it’s not good. I generally don’t like complaining online but I’m having one of these days that the only thing I’d really like to do is have some comfort food and collapse on my sofa. Work is busy. Interviews and work applications are stressful. My diet is not working. My legs hurt. I need to sort some admin stuff from Greece. I lack sleep. Also, my long waited summer holidays are in jeopardy. I feel pressure from all around and I need to take a deep breath.

Anyway, it’ll be fine. I just need to relax and concentrate on other stuff. No, not the weather (it’ll rain soon). No, not Greece (that’s a country graded whose rating is worse than Pakistan or Ecuador). Of course not my deteriorating fitness level. Yes, maybe some other irrelevant news.

I went recently and I saw ‘X-Men: the first class’ and I have to say I loved it. The story has nothing to do with the comics but still it’s a very good X-Men related movie. I liked how the characters evolved and the story unfolded. I also loved a certain short cameo (no spoilers). I found Bacon an excellent villain and Fassbender played an amazing Magneto. Even if some flaws do exist, I strongly recommend it to action movie fans.

I also went to see the new Jack Sparrow ‘Pirates’ movie. Don’t ask me the correct or full title, I can’t remember it. I have to admit that I didn’t like the previous sequels and I was somewhat negatively preoccupied. I was surprised to find the movie to my liking, even if I thought that it was too long. The movie doesn’t deliver anything extraordinary. It’s a Disney movie after all. It’s fun to watch on the large screen with pop corn and cola.

That’s it. That’s the best I can do at the moment. Two very short and bad movie reviews. Is it the weekend yet?

(There is no really need to worry. I'll be fine. I just need a break)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Sexual Education

With absolutely no apparent reason...
Just because:

Friday, 10 June 2011

Bad weather…

Not much is happening these days. The weather’s outside is dreadful. It’s raining cats and dogs. It’s supposed to be mid June, aka summer! However, it looks so much like September or October outside! I generally don’t mind bad weather, especially when I’m at work. I’d prefer though to have nicer weather during weekends. The weather forecast is the same. Everyday there is ‘chance of rain’. They simply add a number next to it as a maximum temperature from 15 to 19.

I find it hard to realise that in less than a month my summer holidays begin. When I do think about them, I do get worried (that’s not great news). I can’t help but feel responsible about the trip since our destination will be Greece. I know that it’s not my fault if there will be a strike slowing us down or various others problems, but I can’t help it. I just read that on June 14th there will be a general strike, including the main Piraeus’ port, not allowing any boat to travel to the islands and I felt cold sweat running down my spine. The worst case scenario would be however a coup d’état while we are there.

Our schedule is fixed. We have the plane and boat tickets and our hotel reservation. I’m not sure how flexible these bookings can be. To be honest I wouldn’t mind getting stranded on one of the islands though. I do know we’ll have lots of fun and most likely all will as planned. However, next time I’ll let him do all the bookings and worry about the whole thing. I’d love to go to South Africa anyway…

I don’t have any special plans for this weekend. I do have some stuff I want to do, but most of them are projects I’m working on my laptop. So, maybe the awful weather is not such a bad idea. However, a nice outside run would be most welcome. Going to spinning classed means that I do less runs. That means that the run calendar I keep looks awful.

Having lunch with my brilliant boyfriend ‘JJ’, he suggested two things to me. The first was to take part in this year’s London Gay Pride. That might be fun. The second thing he suggested is taking part in the naked bike ride! He almost gave me a heart attack when he said that. OK, it wasn’t that bad but not in my wildest dreams I’d do something like that. I’d be too insecure and self conscious to do it. I’d really love to be able to and not give a damn about other people, but I am definitely not there yet…

Anyway, I’m sorry for the boring post. I’m leaving you with some eye candy with pictures taken in Mykonos. Have a very nice weekend.

Thursday, 9 June 2011


I was recently contacted by a member of GMFA mentioning to me their new service. Without a second thought, I was sure this was something worth spreading.

GMFA is UK's leading charity, founded in 1992, dedicated to gay men's health. Their mission is to improve gay men's health by increasing the control they have over their own lives. They believe their role is to provide gay men with accurate and credible information, and with the skills that enable them to make informed choices and exercise control over their own actions.

Unfortunately HIV remains the most serious sexually transmitted infection (STI) for gay men, so you'll find lots of info about it on their website, but you can also contact them and they'll answer your questions on other STIs and give you information and advice on how to make your sex life healthier, happier and hornier.

In order to battle these fast spreading STIs, they’ve recently created a new service that I’d like to mention, a Sexual Health Messaging Service:

“In April 2011 GMFA launched a major UK-wide scheme to notify partners of gay men diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The Sexual Health Messaging Service has been developed in collaboration with GU clinics, the gay dating websites Fitlads, Gaydar, Manhunt and Recon and the dating app, Bender. The new service is funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation and aims to reduce the number of men with undiagnosed STIs, including HIV. Men who are diagnosed with an STI can notify previous sexual partners via an online system, so the partners can get tested and, if necessary, treated.”

It’s of course better to be personally notified by your sexual partner of the fact that he’s been recently diagnosed with an STI. Unfortunately, however we all know that doesn’t happen that easily. Lots of people simply choose to ignore a problem than face it. That is why GMFA created this automated service. In an ideal world this service would be needed, but we all know that this world simply doesn’t exist.

For even more information on the service and how to give your permission to receive notifications on Fitlads, Gaydar and Recon you can find it here.

Also, you might find interesting:

GMFA: Find out more about GMFA, volunteer or donate at

Sex & sexual health: Information and advice on HIV & STIs at

Services for gay men in London: Resources & sexual health services for London’s gay men at:

Positive: Information for HIV positive gay men at:

Sports and social groups: A guide to sporting and social activity groups for gay men in London at:

Registered charity no: 1076854
Company limited by guarantee: 2702133

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Would you return a cold soup?

I’ve always believed that I am a person avoiding confrontations. I get cold sweat and my heart beats very fast when I feel threatened or about to go into a row. Throughout my school years I only got into a fight once. When I say a fight, I mean the proper ‘let’s meet behind the Main building at the end of the day and I’ll show you’ kind of thing. I’m not even sure how that started. I only remember children cheering and forming a circle for us and a furious ‘Giorgos’ attacking me. At that moment I remember I froze. It took me a while to get my wits back and do something about the situation I was in. There’s no point to tell you how that fight ended.

Anyway, lately I’ve found myself in situations where I received bad service of some kind. The first one was at a hotel and the second in a restaurant. In both situations I did speak my mind.

Some time ago, I went with ‘JJ’ to do a half marathon in Edinburgh, you can read the story here. What I didn’t mention on that post was the very bad hotel we stayed in. Because of the run we knew that we’d spend more time than usual in the hotel room resting, so ‘JJ’ spent something extra to get us an ‘executive room’ in a good hotel. However, the hotel and the room were anything but. To name a few issues there was a huge mould stain on the ceiling, the taps in the bathroom were not working properly, the room was not properly cleaned and breakfast was exceptionally bad. I didn’t want to spoil our stay and the hotel was full, so I didn’t say anything before the check out. While JJ was paying the overpriced bill the manager asked us how our stay was.

At that moment, I couldn’t help myself and I did a very disappointing ‘huh’. When the manager asked me about our problems, I started listing a few. To be honest I had a list in my head already. I was then encouraged by him to send an email about the complaints I had. I did send an email, twice to be honest. A week after our stay I sent an email to the hotel group. A month after not receiving a reply, I sent a second one. Then I got an apology and an offer for a free night’s stay at the hotel. I haven’t replied to that yet, but I will refuse the offer.

In both emails I was very polite, simply stating facts and things that were done wrong. For example I mentioned the collapsed ceiling on the corridor leading to our room (huge black hole on the ceiling). The manager at check out simply said that it had happened a few days ago and there was nothing they could do. However, I suggested in my email that an apologising note mentioned that the problem was looked after would be nice at least. The only personal note was that I felt very disappointed from our stay (which I did) and that I would never recommend them to anyone else I know (which I won’t).

The second occasion was yesterday when I went out for dinner with ‘JJ’ in the city centre. I had picked a Japanese restaurant in Chinatown which online had amazing reviews. The place looked very simple with a bit old decoration that was stretched in small rooms through 3 floors. The menu offered some really interesting Japanese delicacies. The service was fast and the food was nice, even if it was a bit overpriced. I generally believe that the ingredients were of good quality and fresh. However, while finishing dinner ‘JJ’ found a wing in his salad. It was a small insect wing, probably from a butterfly. I wouldn’t like to think what else it could have been.

Even though ‘JJ’ told me not to say anything, once again I simply couldn’t. Like on the occasion with the hotel I didn’t get frustrated or angry at all. I simply showed the discovery to our waitress. She said a quick impersonal ‘sorry’, took the salad bowl and went to the kitchen. We then picked up the bill and went to the till by the exit door to leave. While waiting on the queue to pay, the waitress reappeared, said another ‘sorry’ and started talking in Japanese to the woman in the counter. To cut a story short, they took the salad off the bill and gave us a 20% discount which was of course well received. We did like the way they handled the situation. Although, I’m not sure if we are going back again soon.

In both situations ‘JJ’ wouldn’t have said a word. Most likely he’d write an online review and try to forget the whole thing. He’s closer to having a British culture and tactfulness than me. There’s an anecdote about a British couple receiving the worst service and food ever in a restaurant but when asked by the waiter, they simply said that ‘it was lovely, thank you’. According to stereotypes, British people are very patient and don’t want to cause a stir. In worst case scenarios they write complain letters.

I don’t know if these occasions say something bad about me, that I am too demanding or ill tempered. I don’t want to end up a grumpy old man that everybody avoids. However, I do believe that since I do try to be professional at my job, I’d like to receive the same service by others, especially from places that are expensive and pretend to be good. Is there something wrong with me? Doctor?
What do you normally do in similar occasions?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Treats in the kitchen

According to custom, when someone from the company goes away on holiday, he or she should bring some local treats back to the office. In most cases they are chocolate biscuits, cookies or some other kind of finger food. In the past, we had some really interesting dried stuff from exotic locations or even exotic fruit.

This time, one of my colleagues went back to his hometown, in Scotland. I was very surprised that apart from the customary and expected shortbread, he brought us, this:

Haggis Poo!

Yes, poo that came out from Haggis! I couldn't stop laughing! They are raisins dipped in milk chocolate. Once more for those of you that missed the name : Haggis Poo!

Just look at the box! It's hilarious! It's a personified haggis wearing a Scottish Kilt lifting his leg next to a bush and the toilet paper is running for it! The sheep in the back looks amazed and the rabbits in the front pass out, probably from the smell!

I generally don't like toilet humor, but honestly... Who had this brilliant idea? Who designed the box and named the product? I have to admit that it is a product difficult to forget, something like

Sunday, 5 June 2011

5 on the Fifth.

Welcome to the '5 on the fifth', a posting where you share 5 photographs taken on the days leading up to the 5th of the month, organised by 'The State Of The Nation UK'. These are my pictures for this month! I've tried to follow the suggested theme which was 'NEW':

New roses in the garden and even more coming...

New game on the laptop (Assassin's Creed - Brotherhood)

New shoes I bought

New movie we watched yesterday

New (?) car parked outside my house

Friday, 3 June 2011


Yes, that’s me. I have a soft spot for books. Ever since I can remember, me and my brother, we had a big bookcase in our shared bedroom with lots and lots of books. I remember collecting Disney comic books, ‘Asterix le Gaulois’ or Popeye. We also had some books of Greek mythology, Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Aesop's fables. Both my parents encouraged us and frequently read to us stories.

After I grew up a bit, I had a saying in which books I had to read. I remember visiting my small bookstore of my home town and I had this lovely tickling sensation of anticipation to find my next book. At first I loved writers like Enid Blyton, Penelope Delta and then Agatha Christie. Growing up I switched to classics with breaks of writers like Stephen King or Tom Robbins when I also discovered Marvel comic books.

Reading comic books was a bit of a struggle. My mother hated them. She insisted that I should be reading proper books and not ‘junk’ as she called them. She was saying that comic books are not educational and for unintelligent, uncharismatic and uncultured people! We had a ‘war’ going on in the house for years when she was throwing away every comic book she could find hidden in the most bizarre places of the house. I know that I lost some great value editions of the ‘80s and ‘90s like that. Other people in their teens hide porn; I was hiding ‘X-Men’. It’s a bit sad, I know, but true! However, she didn’t manage to get this idea out of my mind.

lost in 'Limbo'

Growing up in a small town, I didn’t have many options and the available stores were limited. I remember vividly in one of my first visits in London, I was amazed by the multi-storey bookstores and dedicated places like ‘The Forbidden Planet’ where I could find anything I needed to satisfy my geek self. Even now, I can spend ages browsing through selves, checking books and deciding what to get. I don’t think I’ve read lots of books compared to other people. OK, I might not be as knowledgeable as ‘Stephen Fry’ for example but who cares? I only wish I could remember more of the books I’ve read in the past.

My love for reading is unquestionable. I also believe that it is very important, if not essential to a man’s growing up. It broadens your horizons. It can be educating but very entertaining at the same time. That is why I was very surprised to read that ‘one in three children in London doesn’t own a single book’! A research indicated and I quote that:

‘The study also found almost 40 per cent of those aged eight to 17 live in homes with 10 or fewer books – although 85 per cent of those aged eight to 15 own a games console, and 81 per cent have a mobile phone.‘

And for that, the only people to blame are the parents. It’s not like books are hard to find in a place like London. These children do not live in the middle of a desert or a rain forest. The reason I was extra happy for the success of books like ‘Harry Potter’ or even the ‘Twilight Saga’ is the fact that it was making youngsters read. However, apparently that wasn’t enough. Of course I'm not saying that everybody should finish 'War and Peace' but...

I love this satirical article by 'The Daily Mash' called: 'Books Making Children Gay' (If you read it don't take it seriously, it's the Mash after all)