Sunday 27 February 2011

Bono in Verbier

Bono has been in Verbier this week.  Had to laugh at the fact that he seems to be spending more time in restaurants than on the slopes skiing - a man after my own heart!  I'm not surprised he's not skiing, the thought of our clumsy Bono on skis is scary lol.  Below is an excerpt from an article about this, full story and more photos here. 

(February 24, 2011 - Photo by Bauer Griffin)
"The lead singer of U2 has been in the upmarket Swiss resort this week. But he was spotted more in the restaurants than on the slopes. 

First it was outside the Vieux Verbier restaurant at the bottom of the main Medran lift in the middle of the week. It was during the day and he was not in his ski wear.

With his trademark dark glasses and scarf pulled over his face many of the diners and skiers had no idea they were in the company of high rock celebrity as he holidayed in the resort.

Then at 3.45 on Friday afternoon when  most people are putting in their final turns of the holiday, he emerged from Le Cristal restaurant at Les Ruinettes.  Fresh lobster is a speciality of the establishment.

It was half way up the mountains but again no sign of any ski wear despite the good conditions. And as he came out with his entourage he headed straight for the lift down to the village rather than the slope."

Wednesday 23 February 2011

U2 Confirmed For Glastonbury

What we already knew has been confirmed, U2 are headlining at Glasto on Friday 24th June. (it occasionally has its uses ) has a short video of Edge which you can watch here.   Below is a summary of what he said.
'We're so excited to get to play in front of the world's greatest festival audience.'

At a ceremony in London tonight, Edge presented the 'Best Festival' award by video to Michael and Emily Eavis of The Glastonbury Festival - and confirmed that U2 would play the festival this summer.

''It's more a way of life than a festival.' he said, describing the great time he had visiting the Festival last year, guesting on stage with Muse.

'We're all looking forward to coming back to pick up where I left off, U2 will be playing June 24th...we'll see you there.' Petition

Last year I let my membership of lapse.  I was sad to do this as I'd been a member of Propaganda and then  for 25 years.  But over the last few years I became more and more dissatisfied with  The final straw being in summer 2009 when current members were asked to re-subscribe in order to get pre-sale codes (which enable you to get concert tickets a few days before the general public) for concerts in 2010.  My subscription was due for renewal in March 2010 and no way was I going to take out an expensive re-subscription over six months early in order to get a pre-sale code!  If you are a current member when tickets go on sale you should get a code.  And when the proper re-sub date came up I let the membership lapse and so ended a long fan club membership.

Many, many fans are dissatisfied with, fans really deserve better for their money.  A petition which sums up the problems very succinctly and respectfully has been started here.  I know some of the U2 fans who read this blog are not happy with either.  Maybe you might like to sign the petition.  It might or might not change things, but if fans don't say anything those at will think everything is ok and it certainly isn't.

Monday 21 February 2011

Cooking With Bono

I was a bit bored this evening and was looking around on You Tube and found this,  thought it was quite funny, he actually does sound very like Bono!  It's a clip from an Australan show called The Wedge.  Enjoy.

Thursday 17 February 2011

Northern Lights

Anyone who has read my blog knows I'm fascinated by the Northern Lights. I was reading today that our sun has just blasted out a massive flare which could result in good displays of the Northern Lights over the next couple of nights. I've been regularly checking the night sky here until it clouded over, but the only brightness in the sky was the moon! I'll keep looking though.

I found this interesting article all about this beautiful phenomenom on Facebook from the website of the Northern Lights Centre in the Yukon, Canada.

The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres. They are known as 'Aurora borealis' in the north and 'Aurora australis' in the south..

Auroral displays appear in many colours although pale green and pink are the most common. Shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet have been reported. The lights appear in many forms from patches or scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs, rippling curtains or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow.

The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere. Variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral color, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora.

The connection between the Northern Lights and sunspot activity has been suspected since about 1880. Thanks to research conducted since the 1950's, we now know that electrons and protons from the sun are blown towards the earth on the 'solar wind'. (Note: 1957-58 was International Geophysical Year and the atmosphere was studied extensively with balloons, radar, rockets and satellites. Rocket research is still conducted by scientists at Poker Flats, a facility under the direction of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks - see web page

The temperature above the surface of the sun is millions of degrees Celsius. At this temperature, collisions between gas molecules are frequent and explosive. Free electrons and protons are thrown from the sun's atmosphere by the rotation of the sun and escape through holes in the magnetic field. Blown towards the earth by the solar wind, the charged particles are largely deflected by the earth's magnetic field. However, the earth's magnetic field is weaker at either pole and therefore some particles enter the earth's atmosphere and collide with gas particles. These collisions emit light that we perceive as the dancing lights of the north (and the south).

The lights of the Aurora generally extend from 80 kilometres (50 miles) to as high as 640 kilometres (400 miles) above the earth's surface.

Northern Lights can be seen in the northern or southern hemisphere, in an irregularly shaped oval centred over each magnetic pole. The lights are known as 'Aurora borealis' in the north and 'Aurora australis' in the south. Scientists have learned that in most instances northern and southern auroras are mirror-like images that occur at the same time, with similar shapes and colors.

Because the phenomena occurs near the magnetic poles, northern lights have been seen as far south as New Orleans in the western hemisphere, while similar locations in the east never experience the mysterious lights. However the best places to watch the lights (in North America) are in the northwestern parts of Canada, particularly the Yukon, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Alaska. Auroral displays can also be seen over the southern tip of Greenland and Iceland, the northern coast of Norway and over the coastal waters north of Siberia. Southern auroras are not often seen as they are concentrated in a ring around Antarctica and the southern Indian Ocean.

Areas that are not subject to 'light pollution' are the best places to watch for the lights. Areas in the north, in smaller communities, tend to be best.

Researchers have also discovered that auroral activity is cyclic, peaking roughly every 11 years. The next peak period is 2013.

Winter in the north is generally a good season to view lights. The long periods of darkness and the frequency of clear nights provide many good opportunities to watch the auroral displays. Usually the best time of night (on clear nights) to watch for auroral displays is local midnight (adjust for differences caused by daylight savings time).

'Aurora borealis', the lights of the northern hemisphere, means 'dawn of the north'. 'Aurora australis' means 'dawn of the south'. In Roman myths, Aurora was the goddess of the dawn. \par Many cultural groups have legends about the lights. In medieval times, the occurrences of auroral displays were seen as harbingers of war or famine. The Maori of New Zealand shared a belief with many northern people of Europe and North America that the lights were reflections from torches or campfires.

The Menominee Indians of Wisconsin believed that the lights indicated the location of manabai'wok (giants) who were the spirits of great hunters and fishermen. The Inuit of Alaska believed that the lights were the spirits of the animals they hunted: the seals, salmon, deer and beluga whales. Other aboriginal peoples believed that the lights were the spirits of their people.

Sunday 13 February 2011

What Time Is It In The World?

Showtime!  360 is on the road again, this photo was taken tonight in Johannesburg (photographer unknown).  Gives me goosebumps!  Seems the set list was shaken up a bit but there were no surprises.  But it's always like that on the first gig of a tour leg.  Also U2 haven't played South Africa since the Popmart days so some of the songs we have got "used" to in Euope and North America will be new live to these fans.  Hopefully when they do get back to North America they'll be playing some of those songs they have been rehearsing ; ).  Roll on my next 360 fix in the ever wonderful Canada, is all I can say!

Egypt Reborn

I couldn't ignore what has happened in Egypt over the last couple of weeks.  I've followed the People's Uprising via the excellent cover the BBC gave it.  Part of me watched, hoping that the people would succeed, but thinking they probably wouldn't.  Ordinary people can't overthrow an oppressive dictator of 30 years can they? 

But on the 11th February Mubarak stood down handing over the reins of government Higher Council of the Armed Forces.  The unbridled joy of the people was moving to watch, it felt like such a victory for the ordinary people who often feel they have no voice or power.  Over the weekend the people spontaneously tidied up Tahrir Square, cleaned monuments, painted, brushed, picked up litter.  Almost as if they were sweeping away the old to make room for the new. 

The hardest time for Egypt is still ahead, trying to form a democratic government will not be easy.  But I so hope for those very brave, ordinary people that it succeeds, and that this most ancient of countries becomes all that they want it to be.

Cafe Review - The Sycamore Tree, Longtown, Cumbria

On Bridge Street, Longtown, (eight miles north of Carlisle) - the A7 scenic route to Edinburgh.  You can park easily close by.


The Sycamore Tree is small and traditional in decor.   A typical cafe, nothing special, but clean and comfortable.

For a cafe, the food is excellent, with freshly made and generous portions.  More restaurant quality than that of a cafe. The home made scones, cakes and desserts are wonderful.  Sunday lunch (which is what I had today) consisted of a generous portion of beef (one other meat roast is also available each week) mash and roast potatoes,  four different fresh vegetables and a huge, light and fluffy Yorkshire pudding.  I wasn't going to have a dessert but saw the chocolate pyramids and succumbed!  It consisted of three thin triangles of marbled milk and white chocolate that formed the pyramid which contained a light chocolate mousse and fresh raspberries.  Mmmmm, delish!

Friendly and quick service - even though they were very busy.

Low.  Our Sunday roast was £6.10 which was fantastic value for what we received.  You can also get kids size and larger portions for a small amount less and more.

The cafe is open 9-5 everyday.  On Tuesday and Friday nights the cafe is open for Steak Nights costing £12.95 for 2 courses plus a glass of wine.  Saturday night is Bistro Night £13.95 for a starter and main, £17.95 with a dessert.

Northern Star Rating  ****

Thursday 10 February 2011

It's Coming.....

Snowdrops, yellow and cerise primulas, daffodil shoots growing daily, fat buds on shrubs, birdsong, swarms of starlings swirling in the sky, crows meeting up in tall trees.

Brightly coloured clothes in the shops, still light at 5.30, Easter eggs, thoughts of holidays and decorating. A sigh of relief, Spring is coming.

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