Monday, May 31, 2004

Ricky Ponting says "Australia were right to tour Zimbabwe." No Ricky, the matches were a pile of crap and should never have been granted 1st class status, the statistics for all players who took part in the mockery of a one day series should have them removed from their career records.

Ricky Ponting says "Murilitharan is alright by me." He's been caught cheating on the field of play, and hasn't had a large number of illegal wickets removed from his test record, but he has been told he's a very naughty boy and must not cheat again. So in Ricky's book it's ok to cheat so long as you get caught, I think.

Ricky Ponting says "Proot, proot, wibble, THE BANANAS, THE BANANAS, I have a walrus in my ear." Now we understand you perfectly Mr. Ponting.
In another glimpse into the private world of Yorkshire Soul, here we see the delightful Debbie fetching a cool can of lager for her hard working boss, NSFW.
It's a bank holiday, again, and something that the TUC are campaigning to get more of. More time off for staff, paid I assume.

Personally, and I'm sure I speak for tens of thousands of small business owners, I don't want any more bank holidays, in fact let's have a few less. Like many business owner operators (especially in leisure/tourism), I end up working every bank holiday. Staff, if you can get them, want time and a half, or double time, why should that be ? I can't double my prices on a bank holiday.

As the vast majority of retail and leisure businesses now ignore bank holidays and stay open, they and their support infrastructure force their staff to work on these so called 'public holidays'. As employment in leisure soars, and employment in the more traditional industries steadily declines, the numbers of people who can take advantage of these extra days off work also declines.

So if the TUC want more time off work for people, lets do it properly, get together with the Labour government, over some beer and sandwiches if the so choose, and pass a law to make a few proper bank holidays. Forbid all retail and leisure industries from opening all that day, close all the theme parks, cinemas, golf courses and shopping malls. What will all the people do ? Have a dinner party, go for a picnic, take up hiking, organise a game of 50 a side kids footy in the park, entertain yourselves, don't expect to be entertained.

Apologies to all the nurses, police, firemen and other essential workers who can't participate in a bank holiday no matter what rules were introduced, and if you want to find an industry that laughs in the face of bank holidays, try farming.......

"It's bank holiday Monday, milking then cows will have to wait a day."

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Welcome to Yorkshire Soul's world, in this photograph you can see my personal mechanic Melissa working on the YSoulmobile, note the dual airbag/funbag technology used by Melissa.
Wine Review - Peter Lehmann The Futures Shiraz '01 *****

Peter Lehmann, wine god of the Barossa, makes a totally stunning wine called Eight Songs, which sadly costs about 25 quid a bottle, but, when he thinks his shiraz grapes are not quite up to the standard of Eight Songs, he makes them into The Futures shiraz instead.

Whereas Eight Songs is a huge inky, smoke tinged monster that will dwell in your cellar for a decade or more, The Futures is a huge, inky, smoke tinged monster that is much more accessible at a younger age.

Very dark in colour, good on the nose, The Futures is steeped in dark plums with a hint of smoke, dark chocolate and pepper, very drinkable, perfect with game or richly flavoured casseroles.

The price, less than half that of its big sibling, you can pick up a bottle of The Futures at Booth's for ten pounds.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Ey up, here's a new blog from somebody I know, it's that Wossername bloke.
It lives! Sorry, I would have blogged over the weekend but my PC died and had to be sent away for repairs.

I'm placing adverts today for another chef, fingers crossed. May has been pretty busy, including one service for 120, and another one for 94 last Friday. Yesterday was fairly quiet, which I was grateful for.

I have managed to find time though to watch the excellent shouty bloke Mr Gordon Ramsey inflicting pain and suffering on a bunch of namby pamby, work shy celebrities in Hell's Kitchen. I think that out of all the chef/cookery programmes we have been bombarded with in recent years this is by far the best, it gives a really good insight into the working life of a chef, the length of the days work and the pressure and stress that is the evening service.

Ramsey looks like a fantastic team leader, it's easy to see why he commands such respect and loyalty from his own chefs. He praises regularly when things are going well, he's a perfectionist though so people do get bollocked when things start to go badly.

I thought camp actor luvvy James Dreyfuss would crack first, but he seems to have come through the fire, Amanda Barrie (whom you wouldn't trust to make a cup of tea) and Belinda Carlisle seem to be the two most mentally unfit for the job.

Some of the luvvies laughed when Claridges head chef Mark Sargeant described himself as a hard man, they looked at him and thought "He looks like he couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper bag." That's not what he meant, he was saying he can work an 18 hour shift, day after day after day after day, turning out 70, 80 or 90 covers a night, and doing the work of two people when some useless chef de partie rings in and says he can't come in due to hayfever/hangover/bubonic plague.

Fascinating programme, I hope they actually manage to serve the entire room at some point, here are the two teams menu's...............

The Blue Menu

Risotto of Cornish crab and sautéed radicchio with basil oil

Spaghetti of Scottish lobster with red chilli and spring onions fresh tomato sauce

White onion soup with sautéed frog's legs marinated in cumin and lemon

Terrine of pressed plum tomatoes with black olive vinaigrette

Warm salad of pigeon from Anjou with salad of pickled beetroot

Roasted rack of lamb with a herb crust and potato fondant with olive jus

Fillet of Beef with sautéed foie gras creamed spinach and Madeira jus

Traditional Coq au Vin black leg chicken braised baby onions with button mushrooms

Braised turbot with parsley mashed potato caramelised vegetables red wine sauce

Pan fried line caught sea bass with red pepper cous cous lobster vinaigrette

Baked aubergine with parmesan with sautéed artichokes

Pistachio soufflé

Caramelised pear tatin with a tonka bean custard

Lasagne of mangoes and strawberries with milk chocolate ice cream

Chocolate crescent with espresso ice cream and ginger jelly

Lemon pannacotta with blueberries and thyme compote

The Red Menu

Risotto of Jerusalem artichokes with sherry vinegar caramel

Ravioli of Scottish lobster with marinated cherry tomatoes and lemon grass vinaigrette

Roasted vine tomato soup with baby buffalo mozzarella

Pressed smoked Gloucester ham hock with parsley, capers and home made Piccalilli

Baby gem Caesar salad with croutons soft poached egg and pancetta

Roasted rump of lamb with nicoise garnish pomme fondant and basil jus

Beef Wellington with mashed potato braised carrot and red wine jus

Baked turbot with chorizo sausage and cherry vine tomatoes with baby new potatoes

Line caught sea bass pan fried with braised salsify and vanilla sauce

Breast of Black leg chicken poached and grilled with a morel sauce

Tower of aubergine with goat's cheese English asparagus balsamic dressing

Raspberry Soufflé

Caramelised apple tart tatin with cardamom

Roasted New Season peaches with thyme ice cream

Cold chocolate fondant with malt ice cream

Mint panacotta with a salad of fresh strawberries

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Following this weeks Environmental Health Inspection, I have been forced to make a number of changes in the day to day running of the kitchen..........

1) 'It was unclear (the inspector wrote in her report) whether the rat carcasses under the fridge were a) Stock or b) rubbish, could they be clearly labeled in future.

2) She was fairly sure that murdering errant waiting staff was a serious criminal offence, but as it was beyond her remit would I ensure that in future the bodies would be cut up by an accredited butcher and that the heads and spinal columns were disposed of as per Reg 43/A Prevention of BSE.

3) Did I realize there was a commis chef locked in the flour bin ? (Damn, so that's where I left him.)

4) Pertaining to point 2), if the deceased waiting staff are to be used as stews/casseroles, could I please ensure a service temperature of above 72 degrees.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Album Review, A Grand Don't Come For Free - The Streets *****

Mike Skinner, purveyor of chavscum anthems to the urban masses, returns with that most unusual of things, a rap concept album. 'A Grand Don't Come For Free' has been much touted in the media as the tale of a drugs run gone wrong nut it is much more than that. 'A Grand' is a growing up story, it's a rite of passage tale, a graphic description of emerging adulthood.

Skinner is also being hailed as the British Eminem, he's not, he's much, much better than that. Where Eminem wallows in spite and self pity and struts with domineering scorn and hatred, Skinner's narratives are witty irony and self deprecating humour. As he said on his first album "Round here we call them birds, not bitches."

The concept then. Well, it does start off with an attempted drugs score, I say attempted as it doesn't actually take place for the various reasons listed on the bleakly humorous opening track 'It Was Supposed To Be So Easy.' The real story though is that of a teenage boy, typically thinking that life should be handed to him on a plate, gradually coming to accept that his life is his own responsibility.

Humour and irony are an essential part of Skinner's work, there's more than a hint of Ian Dury shining through his lyrics. Bouncy current single 'Fit But You Know It' (riff stolen wholesale from Blur's Parklife), 'Could Be Well In' and 'Such A Twat' all show the sort of chuckle inducing lyrical humour that Dury exhibited on 'What A Waste', 'This Is What We Find' and especially 'Blockheads', Skinner could cover that latter track and a whole generation wouldn't realise it wasn't his.

'A Grand' is filled with good stuff as Skinner's character stumbles through life, losing his girlfriend, failing to return a dvd, getting drunk, pulling a new girl, getting stoned and having a fist fight with the tv repair man. Skinner portrays himself as being a touchingly naive, lost young man, searching for something more fulfilling than the endless cycle of pubs, clubs, booze, drugs, birds, kebabs.

Whereas 'Original Pirate Material' was very much a solo effort, Skinner has roped in a host of extras on this opus, C-Mone, Wayney G and Leo Ihenacho (amongst many others) adding vocals, plus violin and piano parts make for a much more rounded album with some tracks moving into mainstream r&b territory.

It's a good effort, I've always had a soft spot for the concept album (where's my copy of Misplaced Childhood gone ?), it's funny, touching and ironic in all the right places, chavs, salute your leader.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

An advert! No, honestly a real one. Dr. P, cricket god for the Totty St. John's cricket club is selling these rather amusing looking cricket games.

As they say, not available in the shops, buy now from k-tel, Dr. P assures me that he will accept credit cards, cheques, large bundles of used fivers or the souls of your firstborn as payment.

For each game sold a donation will be made to the TTSJ Club. Nothing to do on those long summer nights, now you can be Michael Vaughan, rumour has it there's a folded card in the deck, to represent Murilitharan, wahey!
I haven't been on holiday, just working.

This has been a fairly bad week. I had to sack a number of the waiting staff, I had previously explained to all staff that Saturday nights function was just about the most important event of the year, at the last minute some of them decided they had other things to do on the night, after promising themselves to work, well, they've now got every night to do whatever they want.

Then I hired a chef, he seemed ok, good at his work, pleasant enough, but............last Saturday, with 120 evening meals booked in, he didn't arrive for work, no explanation.

Eventually he got in touch, explaining that he had had an accident at home and spent two days in hospital, I took him at his word, being a trusting soul (this may change though).

He returned to work on Tuesday, I was by now shattered, having done four 14+ hour shifts in a row, doing the work of two people, all seemed to be well.

Wednesday, he phones to say he's "running a bit late", and that's all I hear from him all day. With two dinner parties booked, plus people in all day for breakfast, lunch and afternoon teas I'm rushed off my feet all day. I do find time to do one thing though, I place a call to the hospital where he spent Saturday and Sunday, surprise, surprise, they've never heard of him, they say neither was he admitted or passed through casualty.

Thursday, he phones to apologise for Wednesday, and to say that he will be back at work that afternoon, I ask him to bring a doctors note and explain that the hospital claim he wasn't there when he said he was, he puts the phone down, and that's the last I've heard from him.

The law as regards self certification for illness is a joke, currently an employee can self certificate for 8 working days, let's count that up, you fall ill on a Monday, stay off until Friday, you're still poorly on the following Monday and finally return to work on Thursday. You claim your 8 working days, but including the weekend you have now been ill for 10 days, in my opinion, anyone ill for that long needs to see a doctor, that's not a head cold, that's a serious illness.

Self certification is a skivers license, you could book a weeks holiday in Spain, fly away, come back, self certificate and tell the boss that your healthy tan came from spending some time on your sunbed, that's right, the uv light made your poorly tummy feel better.

The old 3 day self certification was perfectly reasonable, if you really are so poorly that you can not physically get to work on the 4th day you see a doctor, if you really are poorly he supplies you with a note.

The law was changed not from pressure from employers, obviously, but because of pressure from overworked doctors, who claimed that constantly having to see sick people and write doctors notes was getting in the way of playing golf and driving their top of the range soft top mercedes (with the personalised number plates).

apologies for being a bit bah humbug, and for the lack of posts, abnormal service will resume if and when I can get some more staff.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Testing for the new waitress uniforms is going well, modelled on my own hands!
Sorry about the lack of blogging last week, I was just in the middle of a hugely interesting article on the effects that Chistina Aguilera's boob job has had on goat sales in the lower Andes when mother rang to say she was just popping across to the continent in order to invade Belgium.

"Mother," I said, "You can't do that."

"They've had it coming," she replied.

"Actually what I meant was, there's only one of you, Belgium is a big place, it's at least a two person job."

So there we go, I talked myself in to invading Belguim, thus the lack of articles, there was a terrible political mess to sort out, and then, just when I returned on Saturday, Rolf Harris exploded, bits of beard and green paint all over the place.

Well, it's either that or the summer season is upon me and I was buried in work. I would just like to say a huge thankyou to all my regular staff and especially to the irregulars who turned out for me this weekend.

The magnificent regulars.........Carol, Rick, Rachel, Robyn, Rebecca, Adam (No chef ? Hopefully I'll explain in a later post.)

The wonderful irregulars.........J, Chez, Squirt, Christine, without whom I'm quite certain I would have had a nervous breakdown by Saturday.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Film Review - Shaun Of The Dead ****

I thought this was hilarious, Mrs YS was not at all impressed. Simon Pegg stars as Shaun, a man approaching 30 for whom life has not exactly panned out. He works at an electrical retailer where his junior staff openly mock him, his best mate Ed (played by Nick Frost) is a complete slob, his girlfriend has just dumped him, and, just about everyone else is dead.

The film roughly follows the plot of Dawn Of The Dead, but with more laughs, here, instead of holing up in a giant shopping mall, our few remaining living people head for the shelter of the one place where above all they feel secure and welcome, the pub.

There are some great scenes as the slightly dopey Shaun fails to comprehend the terrible scenes that are taking place beyond his front door, as he channel surfs aimlessly the plot unravels before him in a nicely done pastiche, but he doesn't notice. There are more laughs when he manages an entire shopping trip without noticing the streets filled with shambling dead people.

There is gore too, and the usual motley collection of the stumbling, gasping undead, but although there are frights and shocks throughout, Shaun is played mostly for laughs. There are some nice little in jokes, such as when a news item on the radio says "And the theory that the virus was carried by rage infected monkeys has now been proved to be complete bollo.....", some digs at the po faced seriousness of actors in American horror movies and even daytime bimbo Tricia sending herself up by interviewing a Kappa Slappa in "I Married A Monster."

It made me jump, it made me laugh a lot, Mrs YS hated it but I would recommend it.
We have a new Cricket God, brother in law mk.3 Rob, who usually spends much of his sporting season on sabbatical for swearing, punching other players and assaulting referees, chalked up a magnificent 168 n.o. last week, scoring a league record 13x6's on the way.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

What do you like to do on a weekend ? As is well catalogued here, I like walking, drinking fine wines, listening to speed metal and watching cricket. Yorkshire Soul regular Penny Farthing, well, she likes to spend her days off dressed as a victorian prostitute, and we have photographic evidence..................

Monday, May 03, 2004

The weather forecast was wonderfully wide of the mark yeterday, so I grabbed the chance of a mornings walking in the sunshine.

The cross close to the radio masts on Rombalds Moor.

A quite excellent photo of a grouse, I'm sure you'll agree. The moor was filled with pairs of grouse, they wait until you are nearly upon them then explode out from the heather with an almost gun like stacatto wing beat.

Over the top of the moor and down onto Ilkley Road I saw this rather attractive water trough.

Though Mr Ram wasn't entirely happy with me loitering and taking piccies.

The gamekeepers warning, bit of a Scarborough warning if you ask me.

Looking down into Ilkley, look you can see my house!

The Swastika Stone. About 3 hours walking with a detour into the crap, dark, dank, eerie High Moor Plantation, average depth of mud on path = shin high. I usually like walking in woodland, but the plantation was like Mirkwod, all close packed firs with no room to get off the mud filled path.
Exciting news for Wildhearts fans, Yorkshiresoul has been given exclusive rights to showcase the latest Wildhearts release, Mini G from the Wildhearts, available in pink or purple, and not very safe for work.
Album Review, Coupled With - The Wildhearts *****

There are a lot of current British bands, Funeral For A Friend, InMe, Hundred Reasons, Hell Is For Heroes and possibly even Lostprophets, who should buy this cd and listen to it an awful lot, then hopefully, after a few hours, they'll learn how to produce well constructed, memorable rock songs.

Coupled With contains 20 tracks, two albums worth of b-sides and rarities that have been cleaned up and remastered for this release, plus a video of 'Stormy In The North.'
Wonderful, catchy rock tracks just pour out from Ginger's pen, 'O.C.D.', 'Looking for The One' and 'Move On' all stand out as great sing-a-long Wildhearts classics, and if you want the heavier stuff you've got tracks like 'Lake of Piss'.

Whilst some of the songs are a little sub standard you can't really complain about them, it is a b-side collection after all, and the wealth of decent material more than makes up for the odd duff track. The rather embarrassing thing about Coupled With is that it is, on the whole, a far better record than 'Must Be Destroyed'.

The Wildhearts have also been supporting the collection on tour, dropping at least three Coupled With tracks (by my hazy, Stella Artois/JD fuelled memory) into their set list. If you are already a Wildhearts fanatic, it's a must have album, if you're not, then it serves as a pretty good introduction to the finest rock act Britain has produced in the last 15 years.
The Nazi's are alive and well.......and writing for the Daily Star

Macer Hall, the political editor of the tabloid rag, wrote in last Saturdays edition..."Britain has finally received some good news about migrants, thousands of Gypsy families are to be kicked out of their rent free homes. It means nearly 3,000 Gypsies are being made instantly homeless."

What sort of country are we living in where a writer for a large circulation national paper can describe the creation of 3,000 more homeless people as, and I quote again...."Good news about migrants."

Let's have a little flashback to Germany circa 1939, can you imagine a newspaper saying..."Good news for the Fatherland, 3,000 Jews made homeless," ? I bet you can.

Here is a group of 3,000 people, individuals and whole families, all from one ethnic background, and Macer Hall thinks it a good idea to make them homeless. Hey Macer, how about we form them into lines, separate the young from the old, remove glasses, shoes, spectacles, gold teeth ? How about we turn on the showers,
And fire the ovens,
For the queers and the coons,
For the reds and the jews,
Let's follow the worms.
Would you like to see Britannia,
Rule again my friend ?
Would you like to see our coloured cousins,
Home again ?

Let us think very carefully before we allow Macer Hall, the Daily Star, the Daily Mail and others turn the Roma Gypsies into the new Jews, let us not hearken to their messages of hate.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

This is for Jo from Counting Sheep, I think she'll understand why.
Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz - Series 2 : Week 8 Answers

1) It looks like a big ditch, because it is, but where in the world will you find these massive ditches and ramparts ?

Benin Iyo, Ekhor Niro - Nigeria

2) What is this, and in which city is it ? (2 points)

The Grand Arch of the Defence, Paris

3) Which city's Olympic stadium is this ?


4) There are 3 temples here, one point for each, one point for the city ?

Castor, Pollux and Ceaser

5) This is a famous battlefield as it appears today showing the rebuilt hospital and church, where is this ?

Rorke's Drift

6) What is the name of the temple that these two magnificent figures are guarding ?

Wat Aruhn

7) This unusual looking building was constructed for a world fair, what is it called, which city is it in, and what year was the exhibition ? (3 points)

Pavillion of Discovery - Seville Expo '92

8) A famous city by night, what is it called, and for an extra point, the big building in the centre is a bank, which bank is it ?

Hong Kong, Bank Of China

9) This building is home to a British orchestra, but which one, what is the building called, and which city is it in ? (3 points)

Halle Orchestra - Bridgewater Hall - Manchester

10) A royal residence, but which one ?

Holyrood House

Only three entries this week.........

Malcolm R 13
Dr. P 12
Penny 1 (and that was being kind)

The League : Week 7

1) Dr. P 97
2) Malcolm R 94
3) JR 74
4) Kennamatic Dave 38
5) EvilBarSteward 23
6) Penny Farthing 17
7) Chay 13
8) DSP Andy 11
9) CountingSheep Jo 9