Thursday, 30 June 2011

It's Wimbledon time

I’m a huge tennis fan and one of my favourite tournaments on the ATP World Tour is Wimbledon.  There is nothing quite like this tournament, I don’t know if it’s all the tradition or pomp to it but I love it.  Ask any player and they will say the same. 
Wimbledon is one of the last remaining Grand Slam tournament still played on a natural surface, grass.  It is also the oldest even of its time.
Unfortunately I’ve never been able to go and watch any of the games at Wimbledon itself as the All England Lawn Tennis Club has a ballot system - which has been running since 1924 - whereby the public apply for tickets.  Even that is no guarantee for success as demand always exceeds supply.
Year after year, thousands of people also queue up outside the All England Club in the hope of catching some Centre Court action during the two weeks of the championships.  
That is one thing that really irritates me here in the UK, why can they not sell tickets like every where else in the world, as first come first serve system.  Look at the fiasco of the Olympic tickets for 2012, don’t get me even started on that!
This year I have been able to watch Wimbledon tennis day in and day out,  due to my being a lady of leisure and I am taking full advantage and watching as much as I can.   
But may I just say, what on earth is happening to the women’s tennis?  Ladies, what’s with the noises??  The press call it grunting, but does that sound like grunts to you?  It’s more like cats being tortured or something that common decency stops me from mentioning what it does sound like and I think you all know what I mean.  

I have not been able to watch a single game with the volume up because after just 10 minutes of hearing the horrible noises coming out of these players it is just unbelievable.  Every single serve, the high pitched sound that echos and is then reverberated by the other player.  I think there has been only one single game that I watched the other day where the ladies didn’t moan their way through it.  To use a famous argument from one of my favourite tennis players: “YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS”,
It is a sad day indeed when I have stopped watching women’s tennis after so many years staunchly supporting it.  Do none of your families, friends, coaches etc. show you the recordings after or say, you need to stop that moan session.  It is horrendous.  How can anyone concentrate with those high pitch moans.  Are you not embarrassed by it?  I was watching the Nadal vs Del Potro game the other afternoon and could hear from my neighbour’s house the moans coming through the walls and no, before you ask, it wasn’t something else.   
So ladies, clean up your act, you can be a powerful player, look at all the tennis greats, you didn’t hear them moan their way through their games - so stop, seriously, stop, otherwise you won’t have anyone watching. 
I now give my sole attention to the men’s tennis instead and it’s no hardship as hey, I like the eye candy too and may I say, what nice candy it is too. 
So come on Rafael!!  Oh, and if the sports clothes sponsor of Rafa are reading this blog, bring back the sleeveless shirts!!! 

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Midsommerberg Murders

This story is about my feline friend, Mr. Mini-max Montgomery.  Background history: Mini-max, English by birth, moved to Germany from Newmarket as a young lad and his job – mouser to an aristocratic household where my mother worked.  
There is nothing mini about this cat as it’s twice the size of a normal cat, not that he is ‘fat’ per se, and I don’t like to use the ‘f’ word.  It’s just he enjoys his food, a true gourmand and my sous chef whenever I’m visiting and in the kitchen cooking.  
Last summer my mother was for a very long time in hospital and during her absence the staff at the house decided to leave the cellar door open in the kitchen for Mini so that he could come and go as he pleased without having to bypass the dogs into the gardens.  Just to explain further, for some reason also, last year there was a huge problem with mice as most people we spoke with in the village were facing the exact same thing.  Now, as you can imagine, cellar door, kitchen, 100 year old country home, need I say more.  After coming home one night late from the hospital, I went into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea and switched on the light and both I and the mouse saw each other and just froze.  I cannot say who was more frightened, me or the mouse - so I let out this huge scream and ran!  I know, I’m a wimp, what can I say…  
After speaking to the lady of the house, Mini was kept in the kitchen where he normally slept when his owner was travelling in the hope that he would catch this mouse.   As you know we cannot have such a problem in a kitchen.  Well, little did we realise what a problem it was, the kitchen and the house was overrun with it.  I know, I shudder every time I think about.  So poor Mini was put on a diet of mice only and boy did he do his job.  As I’m such an early riser, I was unfortunately always first at the scene of the crime on most days.  I normally ran out to catch one of the gardeners to clean up or, hang my head in shame, asked my invalid mother who would be home from the neurological rehabilitation hospital over the weekends to do the honours.
I digress.  I decided to call Mini the serial killer of Sommerberg as he was very prolific and had a very strange way of placing his victims.  He mainly decapitated them and would also detach a foot from the body and place just an inch away, so at a glance the body would be in one piece.  Once the crime scene was finished with, we would then take a piece of kitchen roll to lift the body by its tail and it would just fall apart like a jigsaw puzzle.  I know, I’m being very descriptive, but I have to give you an insight into this killer’s mind.
Ahh, there was nothing more prouder then Mini in that moment.  In the mornings when I would inch into the kitchen to check, I usually would glance at him first on his perch by the window and his body language would clue me in on the situation.  “All hail Caesar” would spring to mind!  He would be sitting there, proud profile like the Sphinx by the Pyramid of Khafre, his glance all cool and arrogant, basking in his glory – saying “see, look, look at me”.  
I had to of course praise him and tell him what a wonderful cat he was, which let us face it, he was!!  I would pat that big chest of his, my fingers lost in layers of fur and rolls of ‘ahem’ muscles and listen to the motor kick start and his purring fill the morning air with his satisfaction, the best of the best, as, really dear readers, he was.  
As the summer passed and it turned into one of the harshest winters we had in history, this problem went away and we were once more a peaceful household, mouse free on the inside, with the occasional carcass left on our door step or on my mother’s window sill as a gift from Mini.  
As I mentioned, this was an aristocratic house and the late Count in his youthful days would hunt and we had along a very long corridor in this house heads mounted of the animals he hunted (horrible, I know, but such were the days).  There was also a TV room, named the bear room as there was a huge bear skin rug and some more heads of the hunted.  Now the reason why I bring this up is because just recently on one of her walks, my mother noticed one of the dogs at the outside of this window, from the garden looking in to this bear room and he would not go away.  She came closer to have a look as he was getting too engrossed in whatever it was that was fascinating him.  As she looked down, she saw this bizarre sight.  My mother had lost 50% of her sight last year, so it takes a while also for her brain to register things she sees.  So she took a real close look and suddenly realised what it was and let loose this rollicking laugh.  
There along the ledge of this window that looked into the bear room and the hunting trophies, were rows of mice’s heads.  There must have been about 10 of them (ten heads, not 10 rows).  One after the other, placed side by side, with the tip of the nose pointed upwards.  Mini had over time, collected and presented this row of heads in order to create his own ‘trophy room’ so to speak.   
Now some people might think, what on earth are you laughing about, why do you find this funny or think even, ahhh that is so cute.  Well it’s because this cat is just one of a kind.  Such an eccentric mind, such a character that keeps us so amused and entertained and who has become such a dear member of my family.  Why did he do this, what was he thinking.  I often wish I could read his mind.  I have never had cats in my life, it was a doggy household, but this cat has made a cat fan out of me because he just is such a character who amuses me constantly and shows me such love and affection.  
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, the serial killer of Sommerberg and my big boy, Mini-max Montgomery:


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Ode to the Nose

I have always wanted to write and was contemplating a creative writing course but they were fully booked till the end of the year and after many encouragements and comments of JUST WRITE from a friend, I have decided to put fingers to keyboard and write.   So in her honour,  this first story is for you Mrs. CC.
Mrs. CC and I met at work and have over the years become good friends.  We are both great gourmands and enjoy trying out some of the amazing restaurants we have in this fair city of ours.  As you can imagine, in friendship, you start talking about all sorts of things and little by little you find out lots of facts about each other and during one of our many ‘city lunching‘ sessions,  it came out that she has a thing for noses.  Yes, my dear Readers you did read correctly, NOSES.   
Now to me and maybe others  a nose doesn’t really register very high or at all on our list of things to first notice on a man.   But to my friend, it is.  I have never seen someone get so flustered or blush over the sighting of a good nose, its quite delightful and makes me laugh time and time again and as you can imagine we have the funniest discussions on noses.  
However, the most extraordinary thing has happened, I find myself looking out for a good nose.  I cannot help myself, I do this all the time, whilst commuting, walking around town, shopping or sitting in restaurants - arrggghh she has turned me into a nose addict!!   
So this is how “Ode to the Nose’ has come about and I thought I would start with a few samples of some of the best noses out there in the celebrity world, just to give you a taster of what I’m talking about, maybe create some more addicts.  
Dear Readers, feel free to comment, to debate or better yet, let me know if I have left out a great nose.  So here they are, and in no particular order:

Richard Armitage 

This nose is elegant, classic, has an aristocratic look to it, and that profile, look at the all around view, need I say more... and to think that he once said he was just a beanpole with a big nose.  Richard, if you are reading this, look at me, look back at me!

Adrien Brody

Oh yeah, your mama did good!  Look at the slope of that nose, look how long it is, Mrs. CC described it as a depressed nose, quite an adept description, wouldn’t you say? 
Andy Garcia 
I like a nose that comes close to the top lip, quite an arrogant nose, he knows it!

Rowan Atkinson
Now he has quite a charming and charismatic nose I find.

Nicolaj Coster-Waldau

Not many blond men have good noses, Mrs. CC and I found the majority of the spectacular noses were on dark haired men.  But I remembered a good one and he has an amazing nose, so proud, so strong, so bold. 

Steve Carrell 
Really long but instead of pointing down, it comes straight out - out and proud. 

Patrick Dempsey 
Perfectly suits his face, slightly aquiline nose, the tip has a slight bump and then tilts down to a nice en pointe, with classical lines to the nostrils.

Bradley Cooper
Nicely streamlined, a bit of a foxy feel to it. 

Dermot Mulroney
Up close and personal, intense, distinctive but strong - oooh yah.

Henning Baum

I couldn’t forget my favourite German actor, who is blond, so that makes it two now.   Just like him, big, strong, but all encompassing.   

Kevin Spacey
Strong, masculine, he wears his nose, it doesn't wear him - double oscar winning nose!

John Cusack

A very long, dapper but cheeky looking nose. 


Colin Firth

Look at that nose, beautiful, what can I say, sorry, am having a moment here...

So there you have it.  I hope you have enjoyed them and if you find yourself starting to look out for those  special noses then I’m sorry to have to tell you, you are a nose addict - welcome to my world! 

I do have to apologise for the awful spacing issues between each picture and caption, but in the editing of the post it looks perfect and when I then publish it, it looks like the above.  Probably wasn't a good idea for my first time blog post to use so many pictures, but it was worth it - don't they all look well lush! 
Yours truly 
Miz Ratti