Andrew Cotter’s Tails from the Labs (Video)

More Very Funny Videos from Andrew Cotter.

I posted Olive and Mabel Episodes #1 and #2 at Mildly Amusing Missives #9, but you can watch them, of course, on YouTube at Andrew Cotter’s video link above.

She knows that she can still take it by shaking all over the furniture as we get back home.

…the inappropriate stuff with Kevin the doberman from accounts as well…

Andrew Cotter is (or was) a sports commentator – Wimbledon, The Masters, The Olympics – that sort of thing. Then 2020 happened and he decided to post some videos of his Labradors, Olive and Mabel. Millions of views later and Olive and Mabel now own the YouTube channel!

Bourton-on-the Water

Bourton-on-the-Water is a village in the Cotswolds Area of Gloucestershire, England. The houses and shops in the village are constructed of the yellow Oolitic limestone that is found in the surrounding hills. Cotswold stone is easily split into blocks and is quite weather-resistant.

The Cotswold hills cover an area that is about 40 miles across and 120 miles long. It is an extremely popular tourist destination.

thatch roof house

A peek over just about any hedge or stone wall will give you a glimpse of why at least 117 buildings within Bourton-on-the-Water have been listed as Grade II or higher. This designation means the building has ‘special architectural or historic interest’. The building’s owners have to apply for consent to do most types of work that affect their home.


A peek inside this wobbly hedge! I sure wouldn’t want to be the one who keeps it trimmed.

In old age, and having been sprained by the weight of snow over the decades, the hedges now wobble along, imperfect, but full of vegetable dignity…
– Description of Walmer Castle Hedges, Heritage Magazine Issue 48 –

Vine House

A peek at the house behind the Ivy. English Ivy is the most prevalent self-clinging climber found on walls in England, though some ornamental ivy types are also used.

In 2010, English Heritage released the results of a study to determine whether Ivy was beneficial or detrimental when it grew up the sides of buildings. Their research suggested that as long as ivy was not rooting into the wall, there were numerous positive benefits.

This week’s Photo Challenge is Peek.

When All the Presidential Candidates Stink – Call Canada!

What could be worse for a creaky, cancerous political system than what the Democratic and Republican parties are brewing up? Nothing really. This is as bad as it gets…
First: Do I even bother to vote?
For those who do cast a ballot, there is the even sadder choice: Which candidate do I loathe the least?
– Ron Fournier, The Atlantic –

The ‘Any One But’ vote – in a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll on American voter preferences, nearly half (47 percent) of those who said they’d support Trump said it was because they don’t want Hillary Clinton to win. Nearly half (46 percent) of those who said they’d vote for Clinton said it was because they don’t want Trump to win.

Maybe this will be the year that the American people decide neither of these candidates is fit to be President. There are several alternatives such as Third Party, Unaffiliated, Write-In and Independent Candidates (in addition to Republican and Democratic Party Candidates other than Clinton and Trump.)

There are hundreds Americans who think they would be a viable  alternative to a simple anti-vote. Of course, SKYWALKER, ANAKIN; GOAT, ANUS THE or THE CLOWN, BIPPY are also on alternative lists, but really, could any of them be worse than the current front runners?

Another option – you can look to Canada for a new alternative for good government! We offer you – The Canada Party!

Why is The Canada Party such a great choice?

Consider this: “Canadians often point out that while the American constitution promises “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the constitution of Canada–written in the 1860s in England–sets a more modest goal: “Peace, order, and good government.” – Robert Fulford –

If you doubt our abilities to govern, consider the fact that we’ve already moved massive numbers of vocal, though unqualified, candidates into your country. You thought our Canada Goose contingents were just seasonal visitors, but you are now starting to realize they have no plans to leave and they are the masters of ‘friendly fire’ when they have a convention in one of your local parks. If we can be so effective with geese, think what we could do with people!

So, what’s it going to be, America? Are you going to stand up for your country and say “Enough is enough” – or will you just bitch your way through another four years with a President who is either the master of reality television or a woman who displays a determined adherence to political deception?

Message from the Queen – Revoking American Independence

My email inbox contains much garbage and a few gems from that prolific author – Unknown. I thought the following was egg-sellently written, but maybe you have to be a member of the Commonwealth to think so.

“To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In light of your immediate failure to financially manage yourselves and also in recent years your tendency to elect incompetent Presidents of the USA and therefore not able to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.  Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.

A questionnaire may be circulated sometime next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour’ and ‘neighbour.’  Likewise, you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters,  and the suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’

Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels.

2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ”like’ and ‘you know’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf.  The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter ‘u” and the elimination of  ‘-ize.’

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists.  The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you’re not quite ready to be independent.  Guns should only be used for shooting grouse.  If you can’t sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you’re not ready to shoot grouse.

5. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler – although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect.  At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables.   Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon.  Get used to it.

8. You will learn to make real chips.  Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps.  Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all.  Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of  known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager.

10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys.  Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters.  Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ was an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

11. You will cease playing American football.  There are only three kinds of proper football; one you call soccer, rugby (dominated by the Kiwis), and rugby league (dominated by the Aussies). Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby league (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

12. You will stop playing baseball.  It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America.  Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.  You will learn cricket.

13. You must tell us who killed JFK.  It’s been driving us mad.

14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream)  when in season.

God Save the Queen!”

Journey Starts and Ends at Kingswood Station, England

Surrey EnglandWe lived in Kingswood, Surrey, England for two years. Many of our journeys began with the walk down to this building, the Kingswood Train Station. When I say down, I mean it was a 10 minute downhill walk that felt like a 15 minute uphill battle on the trip home at the end of the day.  When it was raining, it became a 20 minute skin drenching, umbrella breaking endurance run.

The Kingswood Station was the third last stop on the line, so the only direction we ever went was into London. What a wonderful city it is! And how could it not be so when we started our journey from such a beautiful looking little train station!

I Regret I Didn’t Take More Photos

Don’t regret growing old. It’s a privilege denied to many.
– 60 minutes –

I had difficulty finding photos of the emotion Regret. Times that I’ve felt sorry or distressed – no photos.  Times of mourning – no photos. Even regret as the polite refusal to an invitation – still no photos.

Disappointment – now that is a form of regret that I could find dozens of photos of, and it all relates to the fact that digital photography for the masses is a relatively recent development.

England brick wall gateIn 1999 and 2000, when The Car Guy and I were spending all our spare time touring southern England, we were taking photos with film cameras. Now, I realize that some of the most wonderful photographs in the world come from film, but not my most wonderful photos!  The ancient cemetery above – I took one picture and I was disappointed in it.

hedges lawnThe Manor in Avebury – again, just a single photo.

I was stingy with film, but with digital, I’m absolutely extravagant!

Windows – Eyes of the Home

Bad weather always looks worse through a window.
Tom Lehrer

Windows are the eyes of the home. From the inside looking out, they frame the view of the outside world.

Seen from the outside, the windows form part of the face of the house.

This is The Red House, through the eyes of The Wild Child.  Two eyes, a green nose (or maybe a nose/mouth combination, but clearly two  blue eyebrows!


manor house

Wakehurst is the English country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  This window on the side of the building is peeking out over a vine clad roof.


thatch roof houseThis thatch roof home is in Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds, England. I see two close-set eyes framed with a carefully groomed head of thatch hair! (Of course, I also see an X shaped handle bar moustache…)

How about your house – what kind of face does it present? Ask a child to draw it – how do they see your house’s face?

This week’s Photo Challenge is Windows.

Travel Guides – The Missing Chapter on Toilets

International Travel Guides – very handy for planning a trip. There are often several to choose from. If you are uncertain which guide is best, I would suggest you flip to the index and scroll down to see if there is a section about Toilets.  In my experience, the information contained in one short paragraph could turn out to be the best advice in the whole book.

Alas, most guides omit the topic completely. So here is a bit of practical information for after you arrive at your destination. The first challenge will be knowing what to call the facility you are looking for. You might try asking where the bathroom, restroom, WC, loo, lavatory, comfort station, toilet, or washroom is. If that is met with a shrug, you are on your own. A bit of wandering will usually take you to a location that seems familiar because you are offered a choice of two doors. These will be labelled in some manner that has to do with how the equipment inside is tailored for the sex you happen to be. If this label is hard to decipher, then just open one of the doors and decide if a room full of urinals is where you want to be.

Sometimes the facilities are unisex. In London I found a coin operated space age unit that could be mistaken for a bus stop. Upon exiting the facility, the entire inside of it went through a washing cycle – but not a drying cycle, which was why it was so damp inside when I first entered. In an airport in France the facilities weren’t quite unisex, but the women’s facilities were reached after passing by the men standing at the urinals.

In many countries, toilets are a source of income for someone. In India most public washrooms are manned by an attendant who insists on hard currency for the privilege of entering the facility. A small wad of toilet paper is included in the transaction. But in some countries it is best to carry a pocketful of kleenex, because paper is not deemed to be needed for a “clean-up in aisle four”.

In the Middle East I had my first ‘hole in the floor’ experience and came to the conclusion that I needed to have better thigh muscles. In general, expect the unexpected!

Once you have found the facility and completed your task, there is the challenge of Initiating a Flush. This means you have to find a knob, button, cord or lever that can be be pushed, pulled, or turned. Don’t assume this trigger is anywhere near where you would normally find it. If all else fails, quickly walk away to the hand sanitation station and pretend you had nothing to do with what happened in stall two.

While there is often a sink of some sort, and perhaps some water, and maybe even a bit of soap and a towel, the travellers best companion is the small bottle of hand sanitizer that keeps the kleenex company in your pocket.

My last bit of advice is this – when Choosing a Restaurant to eat in, check out their washroom before you order your meal. Washrooms are usually well lit, which not only lets you determine how clean the facility is, it also makes it much easier to read the menu…

Avebury Henge and Stone Circle

A post about a place I’ve been, and the resulting Unfinished Project:

Avebury is a beautiful little village in Wiltshire, Southern England. Much of the village sits within a large stone henge that encompasses 28.5 acres. With an extensive bank and ditch, and numerous standing stones, it is a magical place.

Wiltshire South EnglandSome of the remaining large sarsen stones. There were originally 98 of them. The diameter of the exterior stone circle at Avebury is larger than the one at Stonehenge.

Saxon Church of St. James in the village of Avebury.Saxon Church of St. James in the village of Avebury.

EnglandThatch roof house in Avebury. We lived in England for two years, and I think I have photographs of nearly every  thatch roof house I saw! I love how they look!

This is the Cross Stitch kit I bought from National Trust. It will be a nice memory of Avebury, should I ever finish it…

The kit was prepared and is copyright to M. Yvonne Iley (M.Y.I. Designs) as an exclusive design for The National Trust in 2001. The contact address on the kit is for National Trust and is listed as: National Trust Enterprises Ltd, Stable Block, Heywood House, Westbury House, Westbury, Wiltshire, BA13 3XQ.

I purchased the kit in about 2001, so I don’t know if it is still available.