Tuesday, 31 July 2012

It was really the "four seasons" here today. Awoke to cold rain, then hot sunshine, then snow (well - actually - gusts of pollen), then finally nothing ...

Got a lot of work done today ... and am in the editing suite tomorrow with Oli ... plus I have a little London adventure planned ... which will be awesome if the weather is good ...

Have agreed to play in the annual local cricket game today ... better start working out then! Ha! Last year was fun although I was on the losing side. This year, we will win ... ! I hope.

Am desperate to try out my new set of golf clubs - PLEASE someone invite me for a round! PLEASE!

Song of the Day: She Blinded Me With Science - Thomas Dolby

I am not a born cricketer ... 

Monday, 30 July 2012

Back in 1992 ... while I was still at University (Manchester) ... I was invited to see a film at the Cornerhouse (?) ... it was called "Baraka" (blessing) and was sold to me as having "no words, travel, great soundtrack - Dead Can Dance - and ideal as a kissing-movie". Well, no kissing went on that evening as I was completely transfixed by Baraka.

Fast forward to 2012 and Ron Fricke has finally released his follow-up "Samsara". It is officially released at the end of the month but the previews are tonight ... ! SO SO SO SO EXCITING!

Movies that have changed your life? You must have one ... Baraka did it for me!

If you get the chance, rent or buy Baraka and you will see what inspired me to do what I do today ...

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Fantastic friends, fantastic family (love you & happy birthday Mom), fantastic fruit juice (no wine or whisky today), fantastic weird weather, fantastic conversation, fantastic barbecue, fantastic cigars, fantastic traffic (out of London), fantastic ladies beach volleyball, fantastic ketchup, fantastic food, fantastic tractor driving! Ha! What a Sunday …!

Song of the Day: Fantastic Day - Haircut 100

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Fine friends, fine family (love you Pops), fine wine (see below), fine weather, fine conversation, fine barbecue, fine cigars, fine traffic (out of London), fine ladies beach volleyball, fine ketchup, fine food, fine whisky ... freezing cold swimming pool! My first weekend in England for months is just ... fine!

Oh - I am near Oxford ...
 1, 2, 3 ... whoo-hoo!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Today in 1586 - Sir Walter Raleigh brought tobacco to England from Virginia. It was an "early" cigar ... and thank for that Sir!

So my usual journey to visit my Papa was elongated by over 90 minutes tonight ... due to traffic ... which is set to last for the next 6 weeks. Great.

Oh - and I believe that £100 million was spent on the opening ceremony for the "Games" ... while over 1 million children in the UK did not have ONE POUND to spend on food today. Erm ... how does that work?

And the Gold Medal for smoking a cigar without breaking into a sweat ... 

Thursday, 26 July 2012

"Varun, you are a monkey."
"How is that?" I asked
"Well, you have long arms like a orangutan, you pull silly faces ... and you always look cheeky .. oh and when you don't shave, you look a neat mess ..."

Isn't it amazing how well our friends know us?

Today is my Papa's (76th) birthday - the kindest, sweetest and most wonderful gentleman in the world. If I am even 1% of the man he is, then I have done well ...


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Another gorgeous day here ...

Thankfully my house has a thatched roof - which means it's cool in summer and warm in winter ... I have been hiding in my office for most of the day with the Pooch ... she was defurred today so is now walking around with a spring in her step. She may be old, blind and toothless but she still acts like a puppy sometimes!

All good until I just read a news story about a wee 5-month old kitten (see below) who had her MOUTH glued shut by some evil ba***ards ... glue ... what kind of a world do we live in when a defenceless kitten can be attacked in this way by mindless idiots ... their parents must be so proud. It makes my blood boil.

If anyone EVER touched my 4-legged family - there would be serious hell to pay.

Thankfully, the lovely kitten is okay now ... and is being looked after by vets ...

Tune of the Day: Wallace & Gromit - Julian Nott

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

It's been a busy 24 hours.

Last night I watched the new Batman movie ... it was quite entertaining BUT I thought the ending was somewhat unremarkable. I did enjoy it ... but ... for me ... the Michael Keaton "Batman" with Jack Nicholson, the Prince soundtrack and Kim (grrr) Basinger will always be my favourite ...

Am still enjoying the mini-heatwave which is set to end on Sunday ... sadly ...

Olympics - sailing - maybe ... beach volleyball (ladies) - definitely!

I watched the sun set this evening - in the garden - with a small cigar and a large cider to hand ... a steam train even chugged close-by ... it was ... idyllic ...

You just can't beat a perfect summer sun-shiny day in the English countryside ... even the cows & the sheep in the neighbouring fields looked happy!

Song of the Day: Ramblin' Man - Lemon Jelly

(some of my sunsets of the year)

Monday, 23 July 2012

Sunshine hits the UK for another day .... about time too we've been waiting sooooo long!

From Emma (Producer)

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The official day of rest began with breakfast; tea & crumpets in the sunshine on the lawn ...

Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France - bravo ... and Adam Scott won The Open golf ... hold on ... he DIDN'T ... Ernie Els did! How did that happen?

I thought it was all over in the last 4 holes so decided to cut down a huge bush in the garden and mulch it. I wandered back to my desk an hour later and the Big Easy had done it! Bravo x 2! It was a great day for South African sport then ... the golf AND the cricket! I hope all my friends down in SA are dancing with joy!

I have a bottle of Ernie Els wine in my collection - it's not all that good but I will "open" (geddit?) tonight in his honour!

The day is going to end on the lawn again (mown by moi) ... with a glass of red wine ... a wee cigar ... and a smile ... wish you were here!

A busy week ahead I fear ...

Viva the 80s!

Song of the Day: Manic Monday - The Bangles

Missed by just an inch ... 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

I don't suffer from greed ... (except when it comes to Heinz Ketchup ... oh & pizza) ... 

In fact I love giving away stuff - whether it be clothing, duplicated electrical goods, memorabilia, toiletries, and of course, anything to do with sports! Recently, I bade farewell to a signed Joe Montana football (American) shirt and I now have a set of golf clubs looking for a new home (more on that tomorrow) ...

I am quite blessed in that I get sent stuff ... connected to my job ... clothes, electrical goods, toiletries, memorabilia and everything to do with sports!

On my recent trip to Toronto, I had a fun afternoon with the Blue Jays ... and the ball below was signed by the star players ... Jose Bautista and JP Arencibia (a hitter and a catcher?) ...

The ball is now winging its way to New York ... and to Robert Stock ... the man behind Robert Graham (which "does" my wardrobe). Once, when I visited him, I was introduced to Mariano Rivera - who - I was informed, IS one of the greatest ball players of all time ... I didn't have a clue ...

Song of the Day: The Model - Kraftwerk

Friday, 20 July 2012

It's been a day of editing ... Costa Rica, Marrakesh and Johannesburg/safari ...

There are some seriously fabulous features - Maholoholo (vultures and cheetah cubs), catching fish & abseiling/rapelling (Costa Rica) and an awesome suite (Four Seasons, Marrakech).

I had a sneaky peek at the Toronto episode too ... the Edge Walk at the CN Tower looks ... FRIGHTENING!

The weekend is here and I have "gifts" waiting for me at home ... I may share tomorrow!

Costa Rica ... only another 100 metres until I hit bottom ...
MY swimming pool at The Royal Suite in Marrakesh
Babies in South Africa

Thursday, 19 July 2012

In London for a couple of days ... meetings and editing ...

Was sent much friendly abuse about my anti-green-crunchy-apple stance of yesterday ... really?

Had a long listen to the radio on my drive today ... so depressing ... Syria, hunger/poverty/starvation, the cost of the Olympics ... ugh ...

Song of the Day: Do the Bartman - Bartholomew J Simpson

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

My most monogamous (12-year love) affair is about to come to an end ...

Yes, since 2000, I have been (almost surgically) attached to a BlackBerry. Yes, models have come and gone ... new ones came with gorgeous enhancements ... and old ones were discarded like used tissue paper.

I have had good news and bad news emailed, SMS'd, telephoned, BBM'd, WhatApp'd, Facebooked, and Twittered to me ... I have taken some incredible photographs and have received some quite remarkable ones too ... I have zipped through airports with my boarding pass on my screen, recorded concerts and have beamed light into darkness with an awesome torch App ... And I will never forget my "BlackBerry hand massage" at a top hotel in Miami! Ha! What was all that about?

Last week I was in Toronto using both ... and sadly, my BlackBerry was outperformed in every way by my "test" handset ...

So what is happening ...? Am I turning to that green, crunchy fruit company? NEVER!!! Am I going forth into the Galaxy? NAY ...

Instead, it looks like my life will be run by three letters ... no - not those three, I am not a gigolo ... I mean HTC ... there we are, I said it, HTC ...

I am not sure what HTC stands for but it has an awesome camera, Skype, Spotify, Angry Birds, Temple Run and it looks quite cool. Cool and me aren't a comfortable fit ... but I am - whatever - giving it a go!

All hail the mighty HTC ... farewell BlackBerry ... thank you for the memories, the blackouts, the lack of useful Apps but the wonderful ... BBM ...

Song of the Day: Curiosity Killed the Cat - Name & Number

 Now ...

Then ... but still my favourite fruit ...

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

I had such high hopes for the day ... as when I awoke, the sun was shining brightly and the sky was that wonderful Summer-blue ... sadly, it didn't last and once again, it is pouring with rain, it's cold and the kitties have refused to leave their designated sofa and Moo her beanbag ...grrr

Today I have been playing catch-up and I am doing rather well ... have three scripts written, meetings conducted & completed and plans made for the next couple of weeks ...

Apparently, Summer arrives next week ... yeah - right!

I did receive an invitation to watch a preview of what is set to be "my" most exciting release of the year: "Samsara" - the sequel to Baraka ... (the greatest movie ever made!) ... oh yes - there IS Batman too ... hmm ... I feel a London double-movie-whammy coming on! Any takers ... ?

Random photos from Canada:
 "Tim, there's a tower growing out of your head!"
Guess who?
King Jack ... in one of his three outfits!
Worried Jack ... about to walk the CN Tower ...
Rogers Centre welcomes us!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Home again! Yay!

Yesterday, the sun was shining, sky blue, it was around 28 degrees and I was smiling ... today, cloud, heavy rain (what sky!), and around 13 degrees ... but I am still smiling!

So - my last day in Canada was spent at Niagara On The Lake ... exploring one of the "prettiest towns in the country". It was also commemoration day of the 1812 War ... Canada versus the USA ... so the main streets were filled with reenacters ... all dressed and ready for war ... 1812 - style!

I even met the current Lord Mayor of the Town ... and the Lady Mayoress ... who were both "period dressed".

The highlight was a visit to the Peller Estate ... home of delicious ice-wine. With wine consultant Kevin Anderson, I supped white, red and sparkling ice-wines. So delicious, I brought 3 bottles home with me! Hic!

Song of the Day: Sweet Harmony - The Beloved

Lord Mayor Dave Eke
at (ye olde) Apothecary - for over 140 years - the local chemist! Murray Shantz was my guide ... opium and turmeric were all part of the treatments on offer!
"It's raining Tim, alleluia ..."
Here come the troops ... 

Kevin ...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Farewell Toronto, Farewell Ontario ... Farewell Canada!

It's been a fun day and will write about it tomorrow ... but for now we are at the airport awaiting the flight home.

We have just completed Series 5 of Inside Luxury Travel ... I wonder what will happen next ... 

Thank you Rey! (he is doing crowd control here by the way ... not tai chi!)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Greetings from Niagara-on-the-Lake ... which may give you a clue to where I have been today!

We left - sadly - The Templar this morning after yet another awesomely excellent breakfast.

It was a 1 hour 25 minute drive to THE Niagara Falls ... one of the "natural wonders of the world".

We filmed around the 'Falls ... both the American side (New York State) and the amazing Canadian side. There are actually 3 falls - at an average of 167 feet tall (51 metres). Between 4 - 6 MILLION cubic feet of water flows over the falls every minute. There are hydro-electric power stations on both sides of the river ... creating enough energy for 1/2 million homes.

We jumped into a Niagara Helicopter - piloted by Rene Huessy - and flew around the falls - SUPERB and then touched down at the Legend on the Niagara golf club. Here we played the course with Head Pro - Curtis Labelle. I did rather well ... I love golf!

Tomorrow is our last day in Ontario ...

Friday, 13 July 2012

"Take me out to the ball game ..."

It's been quite a diverse day ... but I am writing this entry on Adelaide ... outside The Templar with a cigar and a glass of wine ... all I need is a Cocker Spaniel at my feet and life would be perfect!

It's quite humid and Toronto is coming alive! It IS a Friday night after all.

Up early and headed off to the Fairmont Royal York to cook some scallops with the Executive Chef - Collin Thornton. It's the oldest luxury hotel in the city (1929) and was once the tallest building in the Commonwealth ... now it's dwarfed by skyscrapers ... and the CN Tower.

Then we headed over to the Rogers Centre for the Toronto Blue Jays versus the Cleveland Indians. The baseball team here is in the only one that is part of the Eastern Division Major League Baseball - the only team from Canada to be in the American League ...

The team won the World Series in 1992/93 ... back to back winners which is quite rare ... I believe!

Anyway, we were given fabulous access to the players and ground ... and I met with Jose Bautista and JP Arencibia (a hitter and a catcher?) ... who are BIG! We discussed cricket and baseball ... ha!

Song of the Day: Walk of Life - Dire Straits

The BIG screen at the venue even lit up with ... 

In the dug-out ... waiting ...

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