Dear Sharon, I thought everyone looked at the labels? In the UK, we do have a code that some manufacturers adhere to, and that is to put a label on the front to show it is suitable for vegetarians or some put one on for Diabetics. However it is voluntary, so you had better read the label, to be sure. My grandma was diabetic so it was natural for me to check all labels, for if the dreaded word sugar or any colourants were in it, it went straight back on the shelf. There were no e-numbers then of course, these horrible and confusing things were to come later. When my father found out he was Diabetic, it was worrying, but shopping was not a trouble as we were used to doing it for my grandma.Then e-numbers came out, to be honest you could not in fact read the small print without an electron microscope, and if you did not have a Ph.D in what they were, you had not got a hope and nobody would tell you. Slowly as some of these proved to be harmful, some of the numbers were published and they were banned from UK produce, but that did not apply to imported stuff. More careful reading was needed in the store, it was like going to the library just to go shopping! As you say it blocked everywhere up, as people scrutinized these things, for the bad numbers.
We couldn't Google them, as the internet was only available in Universities and Google did not exist.
The thing that changed it was an article printed in one of the medical journals; this was basically saying that some of these chemicals could affect the behaviour in Children, the press seized on the bit about bad behaviour, and at last they had to print all of what these things were and what they did. People were simply horrified and wanted to know why did we need them in jam etc. we never used to have things in jam, why now?
Sharon who would think a simple thing like bread could cause so much anger in our small Nation!. It was soon found out the big manufacturers were putting food additives and preservatives in it, and some colourants as well. The public did not want it, so just left it on the shelves in the stores. Now everything has changed for the better, although these things are still used.
I watch the mothers with children as I would not like their job, thank you, when they are out shopping. For their children pick up glaring, coloured packages and hand them to their mothers as they want it, the poor mothers take one look at the label and have to put it back. How do you explain to a screaming and upset young child that they cannot have it, because of an e-number on the back, or some sort of chemical?
The things should be banned totally, there is no need for them at all.
Regards from a cold England.
p.s. regarding the tree mentioned in your great article, we cannot really grow them here, but we can easily get Styrax japonicus over here and it grows well!
You lost me somewhere between the dyes in bread and the Japanese Snowball. I am not following you.
Please explain...I think the language barrier just reared its head, or maybe I am really tired tonight.
They sell custom m&m's now. You can even get your own personalized message. You could also pick what colors you want. You order them online at
They also have all sorts of holiday assortments. A friend had only brown ones recently. They matched his favorite team - don't ask me what team or sport. I avoid the candy aisle while reading labels in the supermarket because I am doing the high protein thing. I am shocked how many things have sugar and high fructose corn syrup in them. As for the rest of the items on the labels, I am a chemical engineer and still have to look some of them up.
A friend worked at M&M Mars as a consultant over 10 years ago. He told me something that has stopped my M&M and Snickers cravings for good. Stores return unsold merchandise to the factory after a given expiration date. The company wants to be certain that everything sold is "fresh". The returns are ground up and recycled in new candy. There is a specified maximum percentage of "regrinds" in various products. Some markets, such as England, forbid this.
Dear Sharon and rentman, I am most sorry I assumed E numbers (food additives), were worldwide as on my list it gives a number and says banned in the western world! So I will start again to clear my mess up. E numbers were brought in by the European Union as the chemical used to add to food sometimes had such a long name(s), it along with the other chemicals used would not fit on a label. So they reduced the size of the print so nobody could see it, which add to lots of complaints. The EU brought out an E number system where the number corresponded to the chemical used, this although an easier system was not at first printed or released to the public. So you would see on the new labeling system E102, but had no idea what E102 was at all. It is only when the press forced the EU and the manufacturers to print out what the numbers meant and what the chemical was for did people start to understand it a bit.
E102 is Tartrazine, a yellow chemical food dye, Forbidden in some parts of the western world! May increase hyperactivity in affected children. Asthmatics sometimes react badly. Take care if you are sensitive to Aspirin.
It took many years of research by scientists to suddenly start finding out the dangerous additives, and publishing their results, which forced the EU to print out a complete list of known or suspected dangerous ones. E123 Amaranth is a classic case, it is much used as a food additive in anything that requires a red colour, jams, sweets, ice creams, candy bars as you call them and even Tandoori chicken! If you look this horrible thing up on your list, which most people with children carry, it states; Very Dangerous. May increase hyperactivity in affected children. Take care if you are sensitive to Aspirin. So you may ask why is it not banned, simple they cannot find a quick replacement, it is much used in the food industry so would cost a fortune if left out, and as of yet has not proved to be fatal.
Therein lies the problem, for it is up to you to look the E numbers up, not for the manufacturers to put a label on their product saying the food additive used in this product is Very Dangerous! Plus this only applies to EU food, so people can still import things that are unlabeled, unless it has a worldwide ban on it!
I do hope this clears my mess up, it was entirely my own fault. A lot of the E number charts have the Dangers on the number and state banned UK, USA, Canada. That is what confused me, as I am so used to looking for the numbers, that I know not to touch!
Regards from a cold (34F), England.
p.s. Looking down the chart they have now added a list of numbers used without an E prefix for instance 621 Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), TOXIC! Headaches, Intestine Upset, Skin Disorders.
Here is the link to the chart it is quite frightening. http://curezone.com/foods/enumbers.asp
Dear GardenQuilts, you are quite right the UK banned the use of reground products a long time ago. and quite rightly so as well! It makes no sense at all to put a sell by\expiry date on a product then to take it back after that date, regrind it up add it to fresh stuff, and re sell it!
In one of the top supermarket chains (one certain store only), people were complaining about the cheese, so eventually the Environmental Health Inspectors\Food health people, went in and looked at the cheese. All the produce had the correct sell by\expiry dates on it and they could not understand it, so left the store. More people complained about the product and the illnesses they were getting, so they went in at night this time. To their horror they found the manager and two employees cutting the mould off the cheese and repackaging it with new packaging and sell by\expiry dates on it.
We eat blue cheese and during the war they eat it with the mould on it, so it would not it is claimed kill you. The disturbing bit was they were in fact doing it in the meat department used for preparing meat in the day, and using the same equipment. So that was checked and found that it had not been cleaned properly and was contaminated, which contaminated the cheese.
The two employees were fined, and the manager told the court she had to do it to meet her personal bonus payment amounts, she was put in prison.
The CEO of the supermarket store was quoted as saying" she has brought shame on a highly reputable company, I hope they throw the keys to her cell in the River Thames!"
Neil, I have traveled to London quite a bit, even lived in Ireland for a brief time. Shopping is much different there. You can even track meat back to the farm in England. My friends from England sure had fun shopping in Walmart! One said that he could drive his car down the aisles they were so big. A mini cooper would come in handy while shopping.
Well, good morning...I feel very educated now. GardenQuilts, I'm keeping your name on my list of references, I need a chemical engineer, it seems, if I plan to ever again eat purchased food!
What a lot of information, and I'm happy to get it this morning. I used to trust those things I grew for food in my garden, until the folks who live just a little bit uphill of that garden started draining their inground pool downhill in my direction. I tried to divert the drainage, I tried explaining the situation, I called city hall, and finally I simply moved my garden. So many things to consider.
Neil, thank you. I hereby appoint you my consultant!, but be warned, there is no compensation for this appointment. But think of the health and happiness you'll bring to others!
No snowfall here...yet...rentman, but there is another one heading in my direction possibly Thursday. And if I get it, you won't be far behind.
Jas, thank you...it is fun, isn't it?
Me too, LouC.
Great to hear from you this morning, all of you...
I worked as a summer intern at a food company also. I was working at the research center, but all of the interns took a trip to the factory. When they sprayed the vitamins on the cereals, it smelled terrible! Give me 100% oats any day. Another tidbit, when they make cake mixes, they start with the angel food and work their way thru to the dark chocolate, clean the mixers and start over again. Everything is very clean, quality control checks every ingredient and every batch of product. I am not criticizing the food companies, just questioning our choices of foods.
In my own life, I believe in eating things as close to how the were grown as possible. The less processing, the better. Our technology is developing faster than our bodies are evolving.
It is starting to snow here, but is supposed to be above freezing later today and tomorrow. My wintersown seeds are going to get very confused.
Sharran, I love your articles. Anytime you need an engineer, let me know. (I am actually recovering from an auto accident, doing freelance design work and writing and doing graduate work in a different field). Your Aunt Bett reminds me of my Grandma Bertha.
Just when we thought we've figured out how to decipher labels for dreadful additives, we need to consider how food containers themselves (cans and plastics bottles) add to the toxic overload of our food supply. And if that isn't enough, we need to think about mercury in seafood and flu shots, etc. And, pesticides and hormones.
I grow what I can and try to stick to foods on "clean" lists as much as possible.
Sharran, thank you for a very thought-provoking article. Jk
Niel: I think England and Europe also are way ahead of us in food purity practices. Do you allow GMOs (genetically modified plants and animals) in your food supply?. We have corn in everything whether it belongs in there or not.
I really do not know where to start, to thank you all for your kind words, and all the quite lovely people who I have suddenly met.
So I will start and work through all the comments without hopefully boring you! I am so glad GardenQuilts that you wish for a Mini Cooper to go shopping with, you obviously have impeccable taste, although the aisles are a lot bigger in new places, than they were as the Disabled laws have come into place. Which means they must be wide enough to allow complete access for the disabled, and every big store must have disabled toilets as well. Plus they now have electric buggies for the disabled free of charge so they can go shopping. As usual we are having a battle with the E.U. at the moment, for we have as you obviously know, have some of the strictest meat and fish laws in the world. This has rather annoyed the E.U. and they want us to reduce our laws to the EU minimum, which we will not do. As you so rightly say, and I am so glad you know about it, you can trace back any meat to the exact farm it came from. Now they are trying to get the time to trace it back from approx two hours to a lot less, with the aid of computers that are faster. Also our Royal Navy have had a few exciting moments with people fishing in our waters and trying to land unhealthy fish in our ports. So now anyone silly enough to try this, gets their boats confiscated ( or sunk), and unless they pay massive fines they do not get them back!
rentman, surely the pleasure is all mine, be careful out there, don't even think about eating something you don't know, for the people who make it are not going to tell you what is in it, if there is money involved!
jasmerr & Louc thank you for your comments, regarding something that is close to my heart, as well.
Adaylilyfan or Jk, for your information the mayor of London is to ban all plastic carrier bags by the start of the Olympic games here in 2012! he has also set up a glass recycling depot near London, so that all glass that can be recycled to a very high standard will be. It is powered by an award winning site that uses household rubbish that does not pollute the atmosphere, no land fills. He is very much against plastics so is going back to the old way of highly sterilized glass for food jars, and other uses. To do this everyone has been issued with what we call wheelie bins. These most useful things come in different colours; black for normal household rubbish, green for all recycled rubbish (I think you call it trash), brown for garden waste. You put any garden waste in these things and they empty it, then turn it into compost. When you want some compost you ring them up and they deliver two large recyclable bags per household of it. However if you wish for a compost bin, they will deliver one of them completely free.
Also by English law anyone without a garden can apply for an allotment, these are areas of land divided into plots (gardens), where you are allowed to grow your own vegetables, strictly organic in most cases. They cost next to nothing to rent, ie some cost £1.00p or $1.6 a year! Also for your information the organic movement is so powerful here, the supermarkets now bow to them, and the public, not the other way around.
It is not perfect I admit, but Jk it is a start in the right direction!
Sharon, I am honoured to be of a little help to you, and I love to add a few things to your writings, which I read avidly.
Consultant, compensation, they mean nothing to me, a fine sweet chestnut, in full leaf, planted by Queen Elizabeth I in the 1570's means more than anything to me!
When I look at the Titanic garden I designed and built at Greenwich, that means a lot. For you could have been a Billionaire, but it would not have done you much good on the Titanic in the middle of an ice cold North Atlantic, when it was sinking! To research and restore a Jekyll garden was something come true for me, that is what I remember, and all the money in the world will not buy you one of them!
Your willing servant.
Food is much more expensive in Europe and England as well. Houses are much smaller. Yards and gardens are a luxury. In spite of everything we complain about, the standard of living in America is much better than anywhere else I have lived or visited.
Dear gloria125, in answer to your question, no we don't allow GM'S as we call them. Although we are are an island, they did try some GM crops on one of our liitle islands, so it could not affect our main crops on the mainland. However as the organic movement and the consumers are so powerful here, it had to be labeeled, and nobody would touch it with a berge pole!
Scientists did play around, for they have to have something to do, but again it was soon stopped.
It is the consumers, the women with their money in their hands, who have the power when they go shopping to stops things. Stores will not stock it, if people do not buy it!
Dear GardenQuilts, that is true as well. Surely big houses cost more to heat\clean which means more fossil or nuclear fuel being used , to warm them up or indeed cool them down.
When I went to America whilst serving in the British Army, I was quite taken aback by the fact that nobody walked anywhere! Everyone drove big cars to go not many miles, why?
The Mayor of London has brought in Bicycle tracks on the roads, if you are stupid enough to go into one of them in a car, it is an instant fine and three points on your license!
Why not use a bike, it is healthier and now safer. You are only going to be traveling exactly the same speed in a car as you did in a horse and cart in the center of London in the 1800s!
I fully understand that America is a massive place, but India\Africa is bigger and although the traffic is vast in the towns\cities everywhere else they simply walk.
They do not have a high standard of living in India, that we in the UK or the US are accustomed to, but they do as in the Mediterranean countries have a better health rate than we do!
Surely all the money in the world cannot buy you health, and it will not put what we have done to the planet back togeteher.
Think of this:
Official surveys indicate that every year more than 350 billion pounds (160 billion kg) of edible food is available for human consumption in the United States. Of that total, nearly 100 billion pounds (45 billion kg) - including fresh vegetables, fruits, milk, and grain products - are lost to waste by retailers, restaurants, and consumers
40 billion pounds would feed India for a year!
From your Universities research.
Plenty of people walk, ride bicycles and take public transportation in America, especially in cities like New York City.
India needs to address its birthrate. In order to do this, women have to have civil and reproductive rights.
Industrial pollution and nonexistent emission regulations is one of the major environmental challenges today. Personally, I believe countries such as US and EU nations should require the same environmental regulations from importers that they do for their own countries. It is a simplistic concept that will never occur as long as China holds so much US debt.
Since I am not and will never be a socialist, NEILMUIR1, I am going to agree to disagree with you about politics and go back to gardening.
Dear GardenQuilts, I am not anything but a gardener and a cook! I just see what is going on around me and despise what I see, and indeed fear for the next generations.
Even our Parliament was found to be corrupt, yet again over money and that is the main issue that drives everybody on, money, but not me!
I agree about other Countries abiding with pollution laws, and many other issues. We are but a small cog in a massive wheel, and unfortunately we do not matter, apart for when we are needed for something.
China, Brazil and many other Countries, had to do something to try to pay of the massive debts they owe, but who gave it to them in the first place? India has massive problems, I know for I have been through India and Nepal, and it saddens me.
Although I say this and may now get abuse, I am not political at all. Having traveled a lot, I have seen many things and many things I wish I had not!
I am indeed lucky for my wife and I have a Victorian house; I grow my own vegetables (organically), abide with the recycling rules, on the farm I help out on I get meat, which is fresh and organic as well, plus I can fish for fresh stuff when I so wish. More than that there is another thing which surely money cannot buy, and that is we are HAPPY!
I work for an ex service organization, and help out who I can. We have an American second world war veteran who married an English woman and fell in love with the Kent countryside, so he stayed over here. As we live on the London\Kent border it is heaven for him and us, and we have become great friends. In fact he spends many hours around here eating and reading DG, since his wife sadly passed away. He also can not believe some of the comments on DG!
Unfortunately we only get to see America as to what they put on the news over here, like the slums of the Bronx in New York etc, not what the real place is like.
Plus of course yours and China's pollution and waste rates. These are undeniable facts I am afraid, although your President did try to sort things out, whatever political party he belongs to, which I do not know or wish to!
We are always at loggerheads with the rest of Europe, about this matter, but we are but a small island at the outside of a massive continent, and apart from leaving the EU, we do not have much say!
Kindest Regards from a very cold England.
This has been a wonderful discussion for me. Have learned a great deal straight from "the horses mouth" as would be said here in the states. We, too, know nothing more than what the propaganda of the newspapers chooses to tell us. The free and easy exchange of DG is truly a treasure. We live in the same house we purchased in 1967 at 1800 sg ft. At the time it was the habit of most people to "move up" every 5 years. We became so entrenched with our neighbors that it was never an option. Now some of our peers that moved up are looking to move down so we just skipped a step. We are gradually adding ECO friendly things to the structure. As in this week the roof was replaced because of a hail storm last fall. We still had wood shingles under asphalt shingles. The entire thing had to be torn off and decked. We choose to use radiant barrier decking and am hoping that cuts our utility use considerably. We have not only a flower garden that covers almost the entire backyard (soon nothing to mow) but a raised garden where we grow basic vegetables. Started our own compost pile last summer and we are fortunate that we have had curbside recycling for years so our actual waste is very little. Unfortunately our society has not made it easy to access much of anything by walking and I am way too old to fight the traffic on a bicycle. We do however drive a Honda CRV that gets high gas mileage. Having been on various weight loss diets over the years long ago it became a habit to read labels. Was taught that the first 5 ingredients are the most important as they are the highest content. Must be 15 different names for sugar. As always, I am way O/T.
Niel: I have spent my life as something else besides a gardener since its only recently I was able to have my own land, but I can't think of any greater honor for a gardener to restore a Jekyll garden. If you get a chance could you please tell us about this. Jekyll (and Luytens) are heros to me. I think many of the "new" garden movements were actually already covered in her writings. And if you want to plant roses that's where you start to learn about them.
A chestnut planted by Q. Elizabeth the First would be a treasure to me also. Is it still alive and producing chestnuts?
Dear LouC, our house was bult in 1871 for the Great exhibition that was originally in Hyde Park (Royal Park), and them moved to Crystal Palace, not too far from us.
The estate agents do not tend to measure things in square feet, but across the rooms ie 20x18 feet, and how many bedrooms and other things it has. If you try to take a car into London you have to pay congestion charge, which is £12.00p or $19.4138 a day, so it is critical that you are close to public transport, or it costs you a lot of money to get into work, if you drive a car!
My house is considered to be modern apart from a new estate near us, which is already falling down. I will give the Victorians their due, they not only built the railways (and untold other things), they also built good houses. Their is a well in my garden, and many others nearby, which comes from the hill near us. There is a geological term for it, but the water is always hot.
This warms all the houses in our road, and indeed others up. It is a great asset in the winter but can be a pain in the summer, as the water gets even hotter then.
The pub which is across the road from us was built in 1598, although it was an ale house at the time, it is a beautiful place and has a magnificent garden in the summer.
I have a cottage in the Oxfordshire countryside, it is mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086 but unfortunately burnt down in the early 1400s but was rebuilt in 1422. The roof burnt down in the 1960s, when the whole village (14 cottages) thatched roofs caught fire. So I got it cheap and rebuilt it. You do not measure that in square fett, more like square inches!
It has one main bedroom, a small other bedroom, a bathroom, a small kitchen and a large living room with an inglenook walk in fire. That is it, nothing else but pure peace and tranquility, plus the wondrous views over the countryside and the wildlife. Why do you need 25 rooms and bathrooms, you can only use one at a time, unless somebody knows different?
My cottage has no bricks at all, it is made from wattle and it belongs to me, as I restored it by hard work, plus it is my own little peaceful paradise.
p.s a picture of the water meadows down the road from me, this is where the hot water from the underground well comes out, and steams as it hits the cold water!
Sharon, enjoyed reading your article, and of course, everyone's comments, --- and, I read Labels All the time, and have for years. Some of the things listed are surprising, others are actually scary. Thanks for sharing~ =)
Dear gloria125, in answer to your question regarding sweet chestnuts, yes they are still growing and are indeed fine! Greenwich park is a Royal park, so is protected by its own Police force, so they have been well looked after. I know as I was the Head Gardener, ot the National maritime museum, the Queens House, Royal observatory, the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich and sometimes had to do the Royal Naval college there as well, whilst courting my now wife!
Queen Elizabeth the First was born there and the treasures are untold in the Queens house, it was also where Queen Anne Boleyn was imprisoned before Henry the Eighth, had her executed, in the Tower of London (19 May 1536).
Queen Elizabeth the First grew up there and became interested in gardening, so she made a planting plan which as in the fashion at the time called "Rides," we now call them avenues.
The park still has her original planting plans and is available to see upon request!
The Chestnuts were planted all the way up the hill of the park to to the majestic main avenue at the top, and still is a spectacular sight. One tree was planted at the bottom and the main trunk split into a huge cave like interior. The Victorians, in great reverence to the long passed away Queen, hollowed the center of the tree out to save it, and made a prison which is still there to this day. If you are found to be drunk in the park you are locked up in the tree for the night, it has a huge iron gate on it, so you can't get out.
They still produce lots of chestnuts, and the tourists do not know what they are, so the locals pick them from the floor, when they drop.
It is still law, although not abided by. that all men must practice Archery on a Sunday before Church; Queen Elizabeth I was annoyed by this as they kept hitting her precious trees, so she planted many more tres in a seperate area. Although mainly English oaks, they were cut down in one of our Nations many battles with the French and Spanish.
People also collect them to grow, as what more do you want than a plant from one of the Queens trees, talk about known Provence!
I will D-mail regarding jekyll.
Dear gloria125, I was looking through my pictyres for this from years past. Here is my little tractor, I am fully aware some people will say it is tiny, and we have massive ones, but there is a reason. For where this had to be stored was in an old courtyard, this had a narrow alleyway to get into it. This was the only thing that would fit down the small space. It had a 12 foot trailer on the back i used to tow, and the gap between the walls either side was about an inch, either way. It was not easy reversing it down there.
One of the paths going up the hill to the Royal Observatory can be seen in the background.
Dear Connie, I will get a picture from the outside with my new camera, the next time I go over there. The park did have the longest modern herbaceous border made.
Unfortunately I only have a picture from inside the prison tree, looking out through the bars (joke).It is far too cold for going anywhere at the moment, plus there are no leaves for a while yet!
In fact if it stays this cold, I doubt there will be any for a very long time yet.
Being a Royal park it also has deer, and a huge collection of waterbirds. The bandstand is very popular as well, as they have free music on a weekend, which is great in the summer, if we ever get one! It is however a gardeners nightmare, due to the fact that it gets about 3 million visitors a year. As most of them want their pictures taken with the Queens house in the background, they have a tendency to step on plants or have a picnic on the Queens lawns, which is not allowed. The lawns always needed repairing, as the amount of people walking on them wears them out, and us! Plus the litter is horrendous all the time, that is why my tractor had a brush on it, to sweep the litter up of the lawns, in fact my gardeners were always clearing rubbish uo in a morning.
If you wanted to try the prison tree out, I know a good pub near the east gate, so it could be arranged!
Neil--- No thanks on trying the prison tree out! I'll wait till your weather warms up a bit, then you can send a photo...from the Outside,of course! That just sounds so weird, a jail in a cut-out tree...I guess Everyone gets to view the 'prisoner' as they pass by...how embarassing that would be!
Neil: Thank you for the f ascinating information about the prison tree. It is also very interesting how many of the royals have been gardeners down to the Queen Mother and Prince Phillip. The films about Queen Elizabeth I do not mention her gardening interests at all so far as I have seen.
Dear Connie and Sharon, I somehow do not think so. They closed the tree down years ago, for Health and Safety and civil liberties reasons, what spoil sports!
It was used a lot after the Napoleonic wars, when we won the battle of Waterloo (1815), for the British "liberated," a lot of his Brandy for medicinal purposes of course.
This caused an outbreak of what is now called anti social behaviour, or what was known then as drunkenness. So they put a few people in the tree as the hole is not big enough for lots of people, about two or three if you pushed them in. Even one person was not exactly comfortable, but I suppose after a lot of cheap Brandy, you would not notice anyway!
Due to some dispute over grain, the Government then made a law that allowed Gin to be made, very cheaply!
This caused Gin palaces to be set up, the drink was so cheap it caused mass troubles all over, but especially with women.
For it was sold in half or pint jugs and so intoxicating was it, it became addictive, so the mothers would sell their babies for money to get Gin. Hence the term "Mother's ruin."
A lot of women were then found in the park on this concoction, and locked up in the tree!
There is still some Gin palaces left in London, but they are of course not allowed to sell pints of Gin anymore.
Another useless piece of information.
I do not watch the T.V that much, apart from the News and Documentaries, so I have never heard of that.
As I am likely to be taken to the Tower of London and beheaded, if the wife's dinner is not ready, when she comes in.
I will write back soon, when time avails, or the wife may have me executed which is quite possible!
Petalpants: Black Books is a BBC tv comedy show - british humor. As for me I don't think most things are funny, but to me this is just hilarious. An Irish guy owns a book store but he doesn't want anyone to come in and buy books which would just be a bother and disturb his day. His best friend is a woman who has a shop next door. Irish guy hires an "assistant" named Manny who has the mistaken idea that his job is to sell books. Hulu has two seasons worth of the BBC series. Each episode is about 20 minutes long.
Being executed for not having dinner ready would make perfect sense in the context of this story.
Connie it is called English humour, in that we have a laugh and a joke at ourseves. The odd American.program I have seen, the audience on the program are laughing, yet we sit here stony faced because we cannot understand your humour!
If you were to watch Only Fools and Horses which has us in fits of laughter, you would not understand the language and definitely not the humour!
They put an American program called "Friends," on the satellite over here. As it was highly publicized a lot of people watched the first episode, even our TV critcs said what is it supposed to be. a comedy or what? We simply could not find anything funny about it at all, and to us it was confusing!
Most blokes who go in the pub on their way home from work, when offered another drink when they are late, will say "no thanks mate, got to get home to er indoors and the rug rats, or she will send me to Coventry again, or the Tower!"
I do think there is a language barrier and that is no exaggeration.
"Are You Being Served" and "Hyacinth Bucket" have been running here forever. I have seen them so many times I can practically say the lines before they do. Also hooked on "As Time Goes By".
Sunday night on PBS is MY time to watch tv. All British comedy and I love it.
Lou C. You will like Black Books if you enjoy British humor. Its on Hulu and each episode is only 20 minutes plus or minus.
I stayed up last night to watch the rest of Season 2. Like Neil says, to me most of American "comedy" is simply not funny and I especially don't think laugh tracks are funny. Stoney faced is a good description.
Sorry, Sharran to hijack your thread. Such good people seem to congregate here!
Gloria, I just heard about Hulu this week, from my son who's 18; first thing I asked him was, 'Is it legal?!' ---Ha, since I know some movie & music sites really are illegal; and of course he said, 'Yes, Mom...'
Maybe they could put labels on TV programs stating "FUNNY."or "NOT FUNNY."
I somehow do not think that would work though, as they are all out to make money, whatever rubbish they decide to put on.
Plus you have the language and humour barrier as well.
Oh well it was only a thoughtful idea!
You can view tv episodes and films on the internet on Hulu and also recently on You Tube. There are others but I think these are the main one's. I have made a ritual of putting myself to sleep in the evening by wrapping up in my faux fur throw and fleece pajamas and watching something interesting on my PC instead of TV. Usually you can get CC closed captioning if you need a translation -- and some English films do (!).
My favorites are the bollywood India films. Imagine a whole culture on the other side of the world!. They have subtitles but there is a lot of English - especially swear words - incorporated into the Hindi dialog -- apparently a gift from the English colonials who occupied India until Gandi politely asked them to go home.
As for "funny" "Not Funny" - the films/tv episodes are classified as to genre - drama, comedy, sci fi etc.
Sometimes though the 'comedy' ones are also listed under 'drama' - its hard to tell. A Hindi film can be both funny and dramatic. And even in serious film the actors will have a song and dance and then go back to the drama.
Ahhhh the color in those India films. I think they are my favorites, even with subtitles. In fact, thanks for introducing them to me, Gloria. I rarely ever have my TV on, but my computer runs non stop.
My wife would know more about that, although we normally just get a title and sometimes a very brief description, If you buy the Radio Times; don't ask me why they call it that, it has the TV programs in and roughly what they are about. However satellite TV is just listed as program titles and nothing else. Probably because the BBC do the Radio Times, so tend to publish their programs a bit more, to say the least. For you have to pay for your TV licence and your satellite as well on top of that.
A weird an old thing, even if you do not watch the BBC you still have to pay for it, to be allowed to legally have a TV!
I luckily do not watch it that much, just the news, Documentaries and the odd repeat comedy, apart from that there is nothing much on.
Neil, here in America you don't have to have a license for your tv, but you do have to pay for cable or satellite, ---that is, if you want to actually see anything. At our home,we just have expanded-cable, which isn't alot, but some people have So many channels that they spend a huge amount every month; my step-mom used to have satellite with tons of movie channels, and she paid Alot; I guess if you watch alot of tv & movies, it might be worth it, but I don't myself. I like to keep our bills as low as possible!
Gloria & Sharon, I haven't seen any India films; I'm going to have to check them out! They certainly sound 'different'! Gloria, you sound like you like to 'cuddle up' (probably you also, Sharon!) Well, I hope you girls have that new fad 'blanket/robe/cuddler'--- the "Snuggie"! I kept joking about it before Christmas, because of all the tv ads; our whole family thought they looked so funny,...well, my husband bought me one for Christmas! (hot pink!)---My son said all the Blue ones were sold out (my fav color). Well, they Are warm... but don't try to walk in one, or you will trip!! Anyway, they are warm & cuddly if you are just sittin' there watching 'Black Books' or something. (Somebody sure made a fortune on those!!)
Someone "regifted" a snuggie to me. Since I don't watch tv, I had no idea what it was. It is a big blanket with sleeves made of fleece. The bf and I had a good laugh figuring out what it was including some speculations not suitable for a family friendly public forum. You are right Sharran, they would be very easy to make. You could make one with a fleece throw ($5 at Walmart this week) and sleeves from an old sweater/sweatshirt. I don't think I would trip in it because mine is wider than it is tall, mutant pink leopard print, and ...well... "not a good look for me." I was going to drop it off at the Salvation Army store, but my cat really likes this thing. At some point, I will cut it up and sew a pillow or something for her. Right now, it is folded up in a wicker laundry basket slid under a sewing cabinet next to a heat vent. She hangs out there when I am in the kitchen.
I can understand the snuggie phenomenon, especially for people with circulation problems. I kind of wish that I thought of it first! Maybe I'm a fiber snob, but I am not a fan of fleece. I knit myself several shrugs using vintage bed jacket patterns. (In the 80's they called the same style boleros) Mine have 3/4 length sleeves and cover the shoulders and neck with a draped collar. They keep my neck and shoulders warm (Very important for me because I am recovering from an auto accident and have neck and shoulder injuries) but I still feel feminine. The sleeves are short enough not to get in my way. They end at my waist in the back, so there is no tripping hazard. They are pretty enough to wear out, or at least answer the door. I love wearing angora and mohair and am willing to hand wash them because they make me happy. (Anyone with a burning desire to make their own can check out www.knittingpatterncentral.com or www.crochetpatterncentral.com for lots of free patterns).
I didn't bother to subscribe to cable tv when I moved here. I figured that when I finish reading all the books I want to read, I'll think about it. I do have a tv and vcr/dvd. I frequently borrow movies and other videos from the library. Friends tape me some shows that I "just have to see." The cable/satellite tv salespeople were bothering me so much (I guess they didn't understand the sign "No solicitations") that I called the main offices to complain. I agree with you, Sharran, the computer is on all of the time, the tv, not very much.
I like the Indian movies also. Sometimes I turn off the subtitles to get a better view of the scenery. (I wish that video producers would put the subtitles in the black space under the letterbox movie.) There are several shelves of movies at the far eastern store where I buy spices, veggies and large hair barrettes. Last time I was there, they had a whole bunch of movies on a table for 3 for $5. I picked up a few including one called SomebodyOrOtherWithAnUnusualName's Garden. The man at the check out gave me an odder than usual look. That one was an adult film, oops. It didn't have any gardens in it either.I was so disappointed.
If you want to see a movie with beautiful French rose gardens and exquisite vintage costumes, find "Cheri" with Michelle Pfeiffer. It is based on Collette's short story. The story was originally written in French, but the film is in English.
Garden Quilts: Thanks for the knitting ideas and the movie tip. Ive been reading about the rose gardens at Bagatelle. A few years ago there were quite a few roses from the French (and Swedish) breeders here but now they seem to just be genetic neon freaks. I remember those shrugs. They should make perfect bed jackets.
To me the scenery and the architecture in the Indian movies is just amazing. Those houses with the double high ceilings in front and the balconies make perfect "stages".
GQ, I wore 'boleros' in the 50's, they were popular under that name then, too.
I probably shouldn't mention that I've never actually seen a snuggie (snugglie?), evidently because I don't watch TV, but have heard much about them. I also don't have fleece except some I've been given, but my cats do love it, so I keep it for them. My outdoor cat, Cupcake, (a throwaway from the divorce next door and subsequent loss of the home), who now has her own apartment in my garage, inherited from me a couple of fleece blankets. Smart cat that she is, she burrows beneath the folds of them and makes for herself a little warm cave. She's happy, particularly today since we are covered in a blanket of white.
For the life of me I can't knit. I can crochet, (slightly) but I simply can't knit. I envy your ability, GQuilts. I have tons of yarn, thinking maybe someday the ability will suddenly appear to me. It hasn't yet, so I just keep crocheting simple things like scarves. I have tons of them, too. If I look at that pattern link above, it'll just reinforce that lack of ability.
'Mutant pink leopard print'? Nahhhhh, I don't think so. Makes one wonder just how fierce a mutant pink leopard would be.
Gloria, I love the architecture that appears in the India films. And I don't like neon roses.
I would go out and shovel snow, but I really have no place to go and it is very pretty. Now if only I had a snuggie...is it snuggie or snugglie? Ahhhhh...Google...
Garden--- About that movie, no wonder the clerk gave you a funny look, Ha! You should've taken it back and told him that they should Label the Adult films, so you have an idea of what to buy or not buy! Even if he didn't return your money, maybe he would've let you Exchange it for another movie. I'll remember that movie, 'Cheri', next time we go to a movie rental place; sounds like lovely scenery.
Gloria---still haven't seen any Indian movies yet, but will have to check them out, as I keep hearing about the scenery and everything--- are the storylines any good?
Sharon, Ha! It's Snuggie, although my husband keeps saying Snugglie--- don't think it matters, anyway...and I don't knit or crochet...I have one special afghan my Mom made special for me, and one from my stepmom, plus others she gave my kids---which 3 out of 4 didn't want anyway (they would've rather had money, never mind all the Hours she spent making them!) So, I decided then and there, I'm Not learning how to knit Or crochet; I learned how to sew a long time ago..and used to make alot of my clothes, but nowadays it costs More to sew them than to Buy them! Kitties Love blankets, as do our puppy dogs, only dogs tend to tear theirs up. Our little terrier, Ziggy, has a little comfy bed, on top of our bed, and he's always trying to dig a hole in it--- someday he probably Will! He does the same thing inside a plastic laundry basket, and he hasn't dug a hole yet (maybe because it's a 'Martha Stewart' basket! Ha!! ---Hey, better to dig there, than in my garden areas, right?!
Petalpants: I would say that the Hindi films have more themes than plots. There is one about schizophrenia 15 Park Avenue and one about farmer suicide under landlord pressure (Summer 2007) which is a current problem in India. Some are just plain silly (Mr. Ya Miss). Mostly they are 2 or 2.5 hours long. But most of them feature Indian domestic architecture (not like anything here) and Indian traditions - like arranged marriage or outcasting. There is always a song and dance even in a serious film, and the scenery is fabulous. And it is a lesson that all of this is going on in the other side of the world pretty much independent of us. There are some great scenes of court yard gardens.
I met some friends friends today. We were talking about freelancing, downsizing, outsourcing, etc.-life of the overeducated and underemployed. I mentioned the takeover here. My one friend, a former corporate marketing guru who now working from home and caring for twins and a special needs child, said to comment on the articles so that the new owners know that people read and like them. They are tracking the traffic (probably number of hits, not content, you know, stuff a computer can do unsupervised).
It is sad that Dave may not be involved. However, he must have agreed to the contract when he sold the company, had lawyers read it, etc. I think it is shortsighted of the new owners, but not too surprising. He might also have a "non compete" clause in the contract which forbids him form starting up a similar company for a limited amount of time.
If more unwelcome changes arise, does anyone know of any other gardening communities on the web?
Oh yes there are several. However, I think a lot of people (members and writers) have invested a lot of their personal interests here. Dave's is good just the way it is -- it may need some tweeking to make it more attractive to more people. It would not be good if the Internet did not have a Dave's Garden with a real Dave involved in it.
I will have to google rose gardens at Bagatelle. I saw the gardens at Versailles and Mal Maison. I like to visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I head back to the "old Norwegian neighborhood" in Bayridge for certain foods. Cornell had a garden of poisonous and carnivorous plants that is interesting, as well. There are lots of fab gardens in the USA. I envy the people in San Jose, CA. People post the most fabulous pictures of their rose garden.
My snuggie isn't technically a snuggie. It is a "snuggle blanket", a generic copy, I guess. It is hot pink with a leopard print. It is really special.
When my Westie, Tiffany, starts digging in the blanket, it means she is about to throw up. Now she is fussing, means she has to go out for a walk in the cold - 15'F. Hope the voles are freezing to death. Tiffany will check, I am sure. The "Great White Hunter" has been on the prowl for voles lately.
"More attractive to more people" isn't always a good thing. My guess is that they want to make it more lucrative to the parent company. Understandable. I am a new member. I have time to decide if I will renew my membership.
Sharran, if I lived nearby, I'd teach you to knit the way my Norwegian grandmother taught me. Crochet is hot right now. There is a good magazine from Interweave press (an excellent fiberarts and natural living publisher) called Interweave Crochet. People are knitting or crocheting throws with huge needles/hooks using several stands of yarn at once. Tiffany likes to pull my throw off the bed and sleep on it. No fleece for Tiffany, she prefers natural fibers, especially mohair and alpaca. Here is a less than perfect picture of Tiffany, my mohair throw and my fingers.
I am definitely a label reader. I am interested in what Neil had to say about labels and diabetics in the UK. Going to visit Scotland in May. We will be spending time in Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Hebrides. As a diabetic I am very careful at counting carbs, something easy to do with Canadian labeling. I do wish we would outlaw GM foods. Apparently we are the country most likely in the world to be eating them unknowingly because they are not allowed to label foods containing them as containing them. The only way around this is to buy organically which is what I do.
On another topic entirely, Neil, are you familiar with gardens in Glasgow, Edinburgh or the Hebrides? I would love to see some gardens when over there. I will be traveling with my dear husband who does not like trampling about gardens and my son who is autistic but does like gardens if he can walk in the fresh air. No greenhouses for him. Two against one means I can see some gardens. If the UK is like Canada a fair amount of spring plants should be in bloom. I hope to see some nice Rhododendrons.
I was reading a fictional book about a man who designed mazes. I will have to find it in one of these piles of books. It mentioned several famous ones in England. I didn't see any while in England, but would love to! Any recommendations? Perhaps your non gardening husband would like those?
If all else fails, take the husband for fish and chips at the pub first. Maybe "fortifications" are in order. He could always stay in the pub and read the paper or a book while you tramp thru the gardens. They won't mind, especially if he explained his situation. People seemed more relaxed about such things, there.
I think it would be wonderful to go to China and see rhododendrons in their natural setting. There was a show about that on the nature channel or somewhere just before the olympics.
So glad to have Dave's garden to visit while waiting for people to return phone calls.
In Edinburgh & Glasgow, there are the famous Botanic gardens as well as fantastic public gardens. In Edinburgh there are the Princess Street gardens, famous for their bedding and the floral clock. In the Hebrides don't wory about gardnes, just look at the stunning scenery and taste possibly the best lamb in the world!
The biggest maze just outside London is at Hampton Court Palace gardens.
Neil, I just looked up the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh . The photos I saw were amazing. Definitely on the must see list. Apparently the gardens in Glasgow are just around the corner from the friends we will be staying with. I am so excited.
My own garden this year is a mess as we had quite a bit of masonry work done and new windows put in and such. The workmen utterly ruined and dug up my garden in putting up new fences. Almost like starting from scratch again. Just during the time for planting I will be in Scotland. I did manage to keep a few plants by corms and bulbs and others by putting in pots so I have some saved. We have had such an odd weather winter that some of my plants that don't normally bloom in January but in late March or April are blooming in the pots. I have violets, primulas and a heather all too early.
Dear Sandy and don't forget the floral clock and the extensive gardens by the Burns memorial in Edinburgh, the spring bedding is awesome! The street is exactly one mile long, one side is every shopaholics dream and has pubs and restaurants seemingly every few yards. The food is really good, and even better on the side streets. Try the deep fried Haggis or Mars bars (deep fried), scotch pies and bridies. The Scotch Haddock and chips eaten out of a bit of paper in the wonderful fresh air is worth every minute as well.
The castle is a must, so go to see mons meg , the on o'clock gun being fired and the pets cemetery. Sounds morbid, but it is not.
Greyfriars Bobby is a definite must see as well. The whisky museum is brilliant as they show you how whisky is made, you don't have to walk as you round in an open top electric car that drives itself, then you get a tasting and can buy more, then you can't walk anyway!
The other thing the Hebrides is famous for apart from whisky is smoked food and salmon, and the famous sea otters, which are cute to watch as they float upside down with their feet in the air. I was in Glasgow five years ago as it had won the cultural center of Europe award, and they spent a lot of money on it. The Botanic gardens are fantastic, and it is not expensive to go in. There are also a lot of wonderful public parks and open spaces, just to look at.
In Edinburgh the gardens are stunning and so is the zoo, which is famed for its conservation work!
Hope this helps a bit, sorry I can't teach you to understand the Scottish Language, but you will be fine and love every minute of it!
I think we have a few food barriers as well as language barriers. Please explain what a deep-fried Haggis is; and, why you think it tastes delectable. Also, I'm hungering to know more about scotch pies and bridies. These sound tastier.
I can make an educated guess about the deep-fried Mars bar. A Mars bar is dipped in a batter and tossed in a vat of hot oil till the candy becomes gooey and the outside is crisp and golden and hot enough to burn your lips. But, it is oh so tempting to resist.
I have had the real deal of fish and chips in London. I can say you haven't had real fish and fries till you've eaten them.
Dear JK, you don't get real fish & chips in London at all, they are horrible things there. The real London dish is pie & mash with liquor (a green stuff made from boiled cods heads and parsley)! Haggis is a dish containing sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally simmered in the animal's stomach for approximately three hours. They are not allowed to use the stomachs now, so the skin is synthetic. To save boil it they get small ones bind them up with egg and cornflour dip them in batter and deep fry them! Wonderful stuff either the Traditional way or the deep fried way.
Mars bars are made from chocolate with a caramel type filling inside a mousse like substance, they have nothing to do with candy.
Scotch pies are little pies made from lamb meat, and are peppered so are quite spicy, the pastry is quite crunchy, until they go cold and they soften.
Bridies are bigger made from lamb meat and seasoned differently, they are square sometimes and are special in certain areas.
The best fish& chips comes from up north and must be fried in beef dripping and served wth mushy peas and scraps!
Thanks for the interesting info. I enjoyed the large fried fish planks years ago when we visited my brother-in-law, who lives in London. I would like to try the other dishes if I ever get back to London.
Here in PA we have a group of people called Pennsylvania Dutch who eat foods that are different than many other parts of the country. There is a dish called hog maw. It is made with a pork sausage, potato and onion filling that is stuffed inside a pig's stomach. It is browned for flavor and then cooked a long time. I haven't had this dish for a long time, but would be happy to have it served to me. And, I would like it.
We can still buy the real pig's stomach, already cleaned, but they are expensive. JK
That is one beautiful looking steak and kidney pie. It looks sooo delicious and moist. The glistening filling seems to be encased in a luscious pastry. A perfect, hearty winter dish served with mashed potatoes and peas.