Burberry buddies

What does Tony Blair have in common with Britain’s football hooligans? Well, a taste for the luxury clothing brand Burberry, apparently.


The pri’minster, init?

The Prime Minister has once again been spotted wearing Burberry; this time while on holiday in Italy. But as today’s Guardian reports in I don’t care if you are Tony Blair… he may have to rethink his wardrobe when he next visits the Midlands:

Drinkers wearing Burberry have been banned from two pubs in the city centre [of Leicester] because it is one of the favourite designers of a group of thugs.

Observers of popular culture noticed the hooligan penchant for Burberry some time ago, but if Britain’s police and publicans are acting on this trend it must now really be official.

Seven years ago Tony Blair said “The new Britain is a meritocracy where we break down the barriers of class, religion, race and culture” (see 1997 Commonwealth Address), and it’s good to see the Prime Minister making such an effective personal contribution to this social transformation.

Parish council ‘snubs’ modern loo

The small village of Brockenhurst in Hampshire is in the news. According to the BBC (Parish council ‘snubs’ modern loo) it seems the parish council finds the new public toilet offensive. Despite the fact that the modern toilet has been nominated for an architectural award, the parish council doesn’t believe it’s “in sympathy with the surrounds”. Oh dear.

I’ve been to Brockenhurst several times throughout the last 30 years. I have relatives living there. Until this new toilet came along the village’s claim to fame was the discovery in the train station waiting room of a set of original photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron. This toilet news represents serious competition!

US Embassy delays

We were somewhat appalled to discover on the weekend that there is currently a 10 week delay for appointments at the US Embassy in London. On Saturday the earliest appointment we could book online was for October 18th.

So if, like us, you want to file a “Consular Report of Birth Abroad”, you’d best make the appointment two months before the birth occurs!

The situation is so desparate, according to the photographer at the Passport Photo Service, that some US citizens are travelling to Dublin for their appointment, where there is presumably less of a delay.

International commuting

Inspired by British Airways’ current seat sale, we booked flights for a holiday in late September — on EasyJet.

Unfortunately for BA, which is already having a bad week (see BA increases fuel cost surcharge and Plane ‘to clear luggage backlog’), it simply came down to price. EasyJet can transport the whole family to and from Nice for the price of a single adult on BA (£69 return including taxes). Of course it won’t be the same level of service, but on a flight lasting less than two hours, who cares?

Airfares just keep getting lower and lower, while house prices just keep getting higher and higher. At this rate, it’ll soon be cheaper to live in France and commute by plane into your London office each day.

It’s a conspiracy

Sometimes business and the media appear to conspire against us, putting all kinds of temptations in our way with perfect timing.

Cover shote of Making Babies by Anne Enright
Radio 4’s Book of the Week is Making Babies by Irish author Anne Enright.

It’s a humourous account of modern motherhood, and is to be published in the UK on Thursday. The Guardian published selected extracts from the book last month (see I have a buggy, I’m hard).

Would I have noticed this if there wasn’t a newborn in our home? Maybe, but I certainly wouldn’t be writing about it!

Heat sensing soft-tipped weaning spoons

I’m learning so much now that I’m a responsible parent. Who’d have thought anyone needed these?

Tommee Tippee Heat Sensing Weaning Spoons

They’re heat sensing, soft-tipped weaning spoons.

Apparently, the red bowl of the spoon turns bright yellow if the food is too hot for young mouths (wouldn’t yellow turning red be a more intuitive signal?), and being “soft-tipped” you can accidentally stab your bundle of joy with one and it won’t hurt.

I wonder who thinks these things up?

Anyway, thanks to the wonder of the Internet you can read at least three reviews of these spoons on the Ciao! Shopping Intelligence web site. If after that you’re still interested, Boots has them on sale for £1.24. That’s 50% off! Better get them while they’re hot.

Help a friend …

or relative become Canadian … before it’s too late!

That was the typically Canadian headline on a small insert provided with the application form for my daughter’s Canadian citizenship application this week.

It seems that anyone born between 1 January 1947 and 14 February 1977 to a Canadian parent may have a claim to Canadian citizenship; but only for another eight days. You must apply before 14 August 2004 or you’ll lose the opportunity to become Canadian.

More information can be found on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada web site, although the tone is not nearly as inviting.

Speedy Passport Service

The UK Passport Service now accepts passport applications online, and I began the process of applying for my new daughter’s first passport on Monday around midday. At 10 AM the next day the postman dropped the typewritten application through our letter box!ukps.gif

All that remains is for me to sign the form, organise the necessary photographs and countersignature, pay the fee and post it back to the Passport Service — most of the work in other words.

Of course you have to start somewhere, and saving me that initial trip to the Post Office in order to pick up the application form is a very welcome improvement. The speed with which it all happened was simply a pleasant and impressive surprise.