Category Archives: 2015

Christmas thoughts

Afternoon all and welcome back to Team Clifford.

Some of you have been kind enough to ask after my whole Scottish experience. It started out very well indeed-too well as it turned out. That man started packing operations and he packed quite a big bag full of stuff. I thought he was making a bit of a fuss as how many little tweed outfits can one Eagle wear-particularly when I would be spending the time amongst the lower orders north of the border. I think that deep fried Mars bar is quite tricky to get out of Harris Tweed so I didn’t want to waste the good stuff. I should perhaps have been a little bit suspicious when a lot of the other members of the team were also stuffed in the bag but I thought that we had a deal. The deal was that I would accompany that man to Euston station. We would get the Glasgow train and he would get off at Milton Keynes and I would continue on to my ultimate destination in the very far north. Well disenchantment set in very early on in the journey as we got on a London Midland train that was only going as far as Birmingham. We then got in the Standard (aka Cattle) Class carriage and the bag was flung up on a luggage rack. The next thing I know we were all getting off at Milton Keynes. When I tried to register a formal protest about it all I was told that we were all going to Buckingham and the whole Scottish trip was off. Austerity was the official excuse but that man has a mean streak in him that is very unattractive when you are on the receiving end of it I can tell you. I tried to point out that it was the royalties from this blog that put food on the table but he would not listen to me. We then sprinted across the very bleak forecourt of Milton Keynes station in the pouring rain and got on the bus to Buckingham. Luckily sanity then prevailed and when we arrived at Uncle Tache’s residence we were warmly welcomed by the Buckingham Boys and settled down with a warm mince pie and a glass of Brandy (as it was good for shock!).

Christmas day dawned bright and early and it was lovely to see the look on that man’s face as he saw the little mountain of presents waiting for him. As Uncle Tache was doing the buying they were well thought through and very welcome. I would like to say that he enjoyed opening my present to him but it seemed to have mysteriously disappeared. This was perhaps for the best as I am not sure how he would have reacted to half a pre nibbled Mars bar. As the more intelligent of you will have already worked out this was originally bought for deep frying purposes but as the Scottish trip was off I thought that I could at least pass it off as a thoughtful gift for that man. I did get a bit bored waiting for him to rip the paper off stuff so I ate it for myself. The official version of events is that Santa must have eaten it the previous evening. Those Reindeer get quite peckish you know.

A lot of good food and wine was consumed and some good company also visited. A personal highlight occurred when that man tried to set up his new laptop. It was all very stressful and at one point he was trying to install some software. He had a Gorilla tucked under one arm and was stress eating Uncle Tache’s secret stash of KitKat crunchies with the other. You couldn’t make up these golden moments one way or another could you?

All in all a very good time was had by all and there was quiet mutterings of best Christmas ever by some of the party. We hope that you all enjoyed your Christmas too.

Anyway on to other more important stuff. It is time to reveal the winners of my poll for man of the year 2015. Drum roll please…

In third place is none other than that nice Mr Cameron. His response to the floods alone puts him in the top three. He actually purchased a pair of cheap Wellies specifically to go up north so that he didn’t look too posh. Well really is all I can say. If he had come across big Nana in his travels I suspect that he wouldn’t make it out quite the same man as he went into the encounter. It would be like Gordon Brown on the campaign trail all over again.

The runner up is nice Mr Putin. I know that you will be surprised at his relegation. He has shown himself to be a calm rational leader with only international peace and brotherhood on his mind. It does remind me of a certain German leader from the 1930s with the initials AH. Nothing to worry about as that all ended well didn’t it?

The winner of this prestigious award though is nice Mr Blatter. He wins it on the basis that he acted like a silly old fool for much of the year and refused to take on any form of responsibility for corporate failings. Everyone else was to blame. Of course, the interesting aspect of all of this is who will be elected in February to replace him. My vote goes to nice Mr Beckham. Who better to be the leader of world football.

Well this is the last post for 2015 and also the last one on the old laptop. A new year beckons and a certain happy occasion to look forward. Worry not I have secured the international rights to the whole event so look out for updates as the year progresses. The only thing left to say is Happy New Year!

Happy Christmas one and all

Morning all. Welcome to this festive edition of the blog.

Christmas has started early this year. That man was up before 6:00 doing ironing and other domestic stuff. He claims that he needs to get on but I am not quite so sure. Personally I am going away for Christmas but I am not sure that man knows this. I am off for a tour of the distilleries in Scotland on a tasting tour. I can’t believe it-wingless before breakfast each day. I suppose I should mention it to that man before he makes an effort on my behalf. Too late I fear as he has just told me that I can have a sprout for Christmas dinner that he has procured specially for me. Ah well I am sure that he won’t be too disappointed when I break the glad tidings to him. Such fun!

I thought that you might like to see the official portrait. I think that it captures my essential Cliffiness.

Happy Christmas to one and all

Happy Christmas to one and all

I hope that you all have a Happy Christmas wherever you are. I am off to Scotland for the Christmas of a lifetime. Now where is my train ticket? I am sure that man wouldn’t have hidden it would he?

It’s very mild still you know

Morning all and welcome back. Apologies for the break in normal service but EOD was staying in the Eyrie unsupervised so I was very busy keeping a careful eye on his various comings and goings. Anyway job done as he is back home so I can commune with you all once more.

As you know it has been very mild recently. That man has been sat here with all the windows and doors open this morning which some might say was foolhardy. However never one to listen to good advice he carried on and we are now all a bit cold. But this did give me the opportunity to nip out and take some shots of the “spring” bulbs. I am putting the word spring in inverted commas as they shouldn’t be out and about in mid December. They should be saving their energy for the spring but they don’t seem to have the sense they were born with. I suppose that is why they get on so well with that man! Anyway a couple of shots to show you how mild it has been.

Now what does this taste like?

Now what does this taste like?

I am sure these will be nice when they have grown up a little bit

I am sure these will be nice when they have grown up a little bit

Where's Percy Thrower when you really need him?

Where’s Percy Thrower when you really need him?

A little bit of behind the scenes gossip as well for you all. That man took me out to supervise the photo shoot and he didn’t make sure that he had created a suitable environment for it. I sat down and it was all very wet and soily and I have now had to be put upside down to dry my tail feathers out. I am counting myself lucky as he was talking about putting me in the microwave to dry me out. The indignity of it all!

Anyway Christmas is nearly upon us but I am not going to wish you all Happy Christmas just yet as I have one last picture that won’t be released until Christmas Eve itself.

Until Christmas Eve then dear readers. Also don’t forget to get presents for all your pets. If they are anything like me a nice single malt will be very acceptable-just saying!

2015-the year when that man finally got south of Preston

Good afternoon and welcome back. We can feel old father time sitting on our shoulder here in the Eyrie as we prepare to review the year. Yes we have reached that point once more so sit back and enjoy a little trip down memory lane.

We are starting at the very top of memory lane as we had a disgruntled follower lodging a formal complaint about some recent revelations. Big Nana would like to make it clear that she was genuinely confused about the ultimate recipients of certain gifts that she gave that man to wrap. She was quite annoyed that I had publicised the incident but she had to agree with that man when he said that it was all true. You can’t censor the Eagle of truth you know!

Anyway I would like to start with some geo-political analysis of the world today. I know that will surprise some of my followers who are keener on the more domestic trivia that we sometimes get caught up with here in the Eyrie. Don’t forget though that Andrew the Gorilla is my co editor and he eats intellectual fibre for breakfast. There have been some concerns about my safety after I had made some pronouncements on the world scene throughout the course of 2015. Worry not. I am quite safe where I am-at the first sign of any trouble I will flap away and be somewhere totally different before you see the snow on the boots of the Russian assassins sent directly from the Kremlin to get me. That man on the other hand might be in more danger as my representative but into every life some rain must fall as he reminds us quite regularly. Events in Crimea, Ukraine and Egypt have kept the little Weasel from the Kremlin busy and he sounds ever more deranged every time he makes a pronouncement. My personal favourite was his wholehearted support of Mr Blatter. At some point he is going to have to be put back in his corner. If Big Nana isn’t free to do this I am sure that the world oil price will further wreak havoc on the Russian economy. If it took out those Saudi bastards as well then I would be one happy little Eagle I can tell you. Thinking about it though my personal highlight was the whole FIFA scandal. To see the whole thing unravel was curiously satisfying and kept us amused for hours on end.

This year has been very pleasant as my social circle has expanded. After all there are only so many occasions when you can feign interest in the day to day trivia that living with that man exposes you to. Talk about a buzz kill but my therapist tells me that I have to rise above such things so let us simply move on shall we. I got to meet Uncle Brian and his little friend Paddington-hello mate just remember the management techniques I was able to share with you and you will quickly get the upper hand. I was able to take up where I left off with EOD on home turf which was a hoot and a half I can tell you. I have also spent many a happy afternoon with the Uncles and cultured time with Aunty Helen. I have seen Aunty Mary, Uncle Dave and Aunty Liz this year so that is lovely too. I have been involved in correspondence with Aunty Michelle and I am shortly going to be letting her into a little secret about next October. I have also managed to expand my American fan base so hello to all my fans on the west coast and a big Cliffie wing wave to Uncle Jeff. A big Cliffie wing wave also to Uncle Nick and his little friend Lola. Finally, I have also kept up to date with members of that man’s family which has been lovely as well. Hello to the whole clan. Very happy memories of cow bells in the mountains and Big Nana’s **th birthday in Norfolk. What a treat it must be for all of you to have the Eagle in your life.

They year has also seen that man get out and about as well. Uncle Tache and I have worked together to make sure that he doesn’t get too comfy on home turf. Incidentally this is an occupational hazard with his whole family. Certain relatives of his rarely make it south of Preston you know. This year has seen trips to Jersey, Geneva, Granada, Seville, Cordoba, Cornwall, San Francisco, Norfolk, Lancaster, Bergen and Southend to name just a small selection. Each trip has been a real education and pleasure for him so well done to UT. The only problem is that Uncle Tache is very upmarket and always goes business class. On a recent trip to Bergen they were the sole occupants of the Club class cabin and that man was heard to say that he didn’t think that he could go back to life behind the curtain now he could see what the good life looked like. Oh dear if only the whole of life was like travelling in Club class. A never ending stream of hot towels, lovely food just appearing and a bottomless Champagne glass. Dream on mate you will be lucky if you get half a glass of Stout here you know.

Here in the Eyrie things continue much as before. We are still kept short of pocket money but we have ways round that you know. My memory for letters and numbers has come in handy on more than one occasion when he logs in to certain financial websites and we are now very well taken care of now thank you very much. One of the highlights of the year has been seeing the Geraniums come back to life after their encounter with a pair of secateurs. The window boxes are filled with life and bulbs now and there is wild talk of putting out some Christmas lights to highlight this fact. We have also been able to extend our links with the Buckingham boys so our influence extends ever further northwards. Hello to our little mates and get ready for a wild and whacky Christmas together.

Now I think you know me well enough now to know that I don’t normally do soppy and sentimental. This year though has been so filled with good company that I feel very happy that I have been able to share it with you all. Thank you for following my ramblings and I hope that you all have some happy memories of our year together-I know that I do.

Now I am off to write some Christmas cards-you have been warned. That man is still weeping quietly in the corner over the price of stamps for my little collection of cards. He should know that the world is keen to receive my Yuletide greetings so he should simply suck it up! As you can see it is all about peace and goodwill to all men this afternoon here in the Eyrie. Worry not, I am sure that we be able to arrange a Christmas Eve truce and maybe nice Mr Blatter might like to join us for a game of football in the trenches. Stranger things than that have happened I can tell you. Have a good week!

Advent musings

Afternoon all. Welcome back to Team Clifford.

They year is really galloping on at the moment. It is the first Sunday of advent tomorrow. This always heralds the candle time of year here in the Eyrie so we are all very happy about that I can tell you. The little ceramic village comes out and we might even get some fairy lights this year. I can sneak a peek at each day’s advent calendar window just before that man comes in. For some reason he gets quite aggravated when I do this. Something about spoiling the surprise. You can imagine the scene can’t you. Our “hero”emerges from his bedroom all crumpled and grumpy and gets on with his morning routine. This involves eating industrial quantities of Weetabix and listening to the news on the radio. He decides that it will make a nice start to the day to see what the latest little picture is behind the door. He rushes to the advent calendar in a flurry of anticipation and what does he find dear reader? That’s right the reason he can’t find that day’s door is that it has already been opened. I think it is a bit excessive to say that I have totally ruined the day when I do this but harsh words are quite often exchanged. As you know this is nothing new so don’t worry too much. I have broad shoulders so I can take the abuse one way or another. I think it partly dates back to his childhood when he had to share an advent calendar with other family members. He was never cut out for sharing you know. Anyway in other breaking news he has been out on Father Christmas type business this morning and we know what he returned with. It is all very exciting as the next phase involves wrapping. This is always a hoot as he can’t seem to get the idea that the paper goes round the gift and is artfully arranged to make it look attractive. What he aims for ends up looking as if a small animal has had a good nibble at it all and then decided to wrap it for him. All I will do is share this sentiment with one of our followers who might be the recipient of one of these lovely parcels-forewarned is forearmed you know. Actually once again we can date this back to childhood times. One Christmas he was given a random selection of gifts to wrap on behalf of Big Nana. She had got a bit confused and gave him his own gifts to wrap. Personally I think this explains a lot about his subsequent emotional development-just saying!

I’m exhausted after that long digression. It is turning quite grey outside so I think that rain must be on its way. That will cool everyone off after the worse excesses of Black Friday. We didn’t go and grab a bargain here in the Eyrie. One of our followers got some Champagne going cheap in Tesco. I am sure that Uncle Rog will be able to supply the punchline to that particular gag.  We are actually saving up. We all quite fancy a round the world trip and so we are saving our pocket money. That man did say that he would be happy to put me on a slow boat to China but I don’t think he was being entirely serious. At least I hope he was joking!

It’s snow joke you know

Good morning and welcome back to Team Clifford. It is a bit early on a Saturday but that man has a schedule and we have to stick to it-apparently. Actually if he thinks that he can make the Eagle stick to any kind of schedule he has got another thing coming. Still we have this argument every few months so nothing new going on here really. We are sat listening to some French dance music and happily chilling so that man can go and boil his head in this Eagle’s brutally honest opinion.

Now I know it has been a little bit of time since I last said hello but it has been hectic here in the Eyrie and I had to take a week off to rest up. Now to begin with you will recall that I was heading north to the frozen wasteland that is more commonly known as Norway. I think that you could call the whole trip an unqualified success. It all started in the Club class lounge at Heathrow where the food and drink flows freely. As you can see I was let out to have a look.

In the Club class lounge

In the Club class lounge

Now I think you know me by now.   I wasn’t going to stay sat on that man’s knee for any time at all when there was a wine bar to explore and food to nibble on. Now where is that bar?

Now where is the bar?

Now where is the bar?

Anyway following a humiliating public announcement implying that I was a lost child that man rounded me up and took me on board. Well talk about the high life. That man and Uncle Tache had a whole Club Europe cabin to themselves and a lovely stewardess to pander to their every needs. Well they started off with a Champagne afternoon tea and it went downhill from there. They each had three bottles of Champagne and the flight only lasted 90 minutes. Well really. It is not often that I am seen as the voice of reason but I had to guide them both through customs. Well anyway next thing I know my stalker had turned up and he made a wonderful tour guide. He also hosted a wonderful dinner which was lovely. Then my little treat was revealed. I was left alone all night with my old friend Hippo close by an internet connection and EOD’s debit card. What a night we had I can tell you. Just look out for the credit card bill is all I am saying. Seriously a big Cliffie wing wave to EOD for taking such good care of all of us. I am going to draw a veil over the flight home but at one point that man had to threaten Uncle Tache with Big Nana to get him to behave. It is amazing what a difference six bottles of Champagne at altitude can make!

No sooner had I got home and washed my smalls than it was party time again. The Lord Mayor’s Show was the excuse for a little get together. As a bonus it was one of my followers birthday so there was a cake, candles and singing. A very happy day and thank you to everyone who braved the wind and rain to watch the parade. Thank you also to Uncle Tache for the catering.

This morning we woke up and were somewhat surprised to see some heavy snow. This is a picture of it.

A snowy November morning

A snowy November morning

We also took the opportunity to take a picture of the Geraniums which are doing very well following their recent cut backs.

The Geraniums enjoying the snow

The Geraniums enjoying the snow

As you all know I keep my wing on the pulse of current events. I was very shocked by the recent events in France and want to pass on my sincere condolences to all those affected by recent events. Those ISIL w*****s will rot in hell and no mistake. The world is a very scary place at the moment so I will do my best to keep you amused with my witty ramblings.

Now I am off you have a bit of a rest. Until next week. Keep safe and warm.

The Hummingbird Chronicles part 3

Morning all.

Due to popular demand I am back with some more pictures. I have also been asked about the significance of the Hummingbird motif in these postings. The reason is simple. Our intrepid travellers stayed in a lovely Victorian house that had a beautiful garden. A Hummingbird lived in the garden and came and visited. He was my spy and kept me informed of developments. Simple really.

Anyway on with the show. The first picture shows some lovely Redwood trees in a Redwood forest in Marin county. They grow very close together and create a shady grove which was lovely.

Californian redwoods

Californian redwoods

As I have mentioned San Francisco has some issues with fog. This picture shows the fog rolling in from the Pacific.

A foggy city

A foggy city

Now that man really likes modern architecture and he was very taken with the Transamerica Pyramid. We quite like it as a symbol of 60s optimism. Of course, here in London we have Centrepoint which does much the same thing but this is maybe a little bit more stylish.

The Transamerica pyramid

The Transamerica pyramid

This is the main cell block at Alcatraz. The main row was known as Broadway and the cells were stacked three stories high. With so many it was a shame they couldn’t have found a little one for that man. Just saying.

"Broadway" at Alcatraz

“Broadway” at Alcatraz

Some information on the prison library for those librarians amongst us.

The Alcatraz library

The Alcatraz library

Finally some Zen like peace at the Japanese Tea Garden.

The Japanese Tea Garden

The Japanese Tea Garden

As I am sure you can see a good time was had by all. See you all in a couple of weeks time after my trip to the frozen wasteland that is otherwise known as Norway.