Britsoc: The British Society of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Serving the British Expat community since 1920.

The next step

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The next step

By Adam Kohut

 

When I left Texas for China — and, two years later, departing China for Bangkok — I boarded a plane and sat crammed into an economy seat, knowing that when I landed I would be confused, that everything — or, at least, that most things — would be alien, wholly new. There was galvanism in that. And it was where a lot of joy came from: that prospect of adventure, the idea that each day was inevitably bound for oddity. This held true for a good while. But, as always and of course, the new didn’t stay new. No, it became old. And the old, as it often and unfairly does, became boring. At which point I, a member by birthright of The Pessimistic Society of the Eternally Grumpy, began to search for fault lines and cracks and irregularities in Thai society with which to occupy myself. There has, after all, never been a better tool with which to farm interest than self-righteous rage.

“Would you look at that!” I might once have thought, upon observing a man sponge-bathing a rooster on the front steps of one of Bangkok’s many business-district skyscrapers. “Now that’s something you don’t see every day.” And then I’d smile inwardly and feel that prickled charge of excitement and carry on with my walk to work. But by the ninth, or the forty-second, or the ninety-third occurrence, that initial wonder had curdled. I’d realized that this bizarre ritual was, indeed, something I saw every day, and that said rooster, was, in fact, disgusting, dirty, and fairly terrifying, at least as far as birds go. It wasn’t long before I’d become mired in urban contempt toward live poultry.

A petty complaint, sure, but these things add up — the little frustrations and annoyances that prod and poke and rankle. You get sick of the crowds, or the noise, or the traffic, or the seemingly illogical hivemind of group culture, or this weird cultural practice of drinking beer with ice, and you begin to struggle. Or you don’t, and you find yourself adapting and willingly changing to better suit your environment. If this happens, you often opt to stay, to attempt to create a new life for yourself in a landscape so recently uncharted. If it does not, you often take the easiest — and the most effective — course of action: you flee.

So I did, gladly leaving behind Bangkok’s confusion, its chaos, its feckless society. And here I’ve arrived, in Amsterdam, the City That Sensibly Sleeps. Just the prospect of heading cardinally west, even to a place with which I was entirely unfamiliar, was enough to propagate this idea of returning, inciting a strange — and ever falser — sense of homecoming. After a month in The Netherlands, that feeling hasn’t entirely dissipated, although it would be untruthful to say I haven’t yet begun to slip, with more and more frequency, on icy patches that serve as furtively slippery differentiations between US and EU.

As an American, beginning to live in Europe presents a special kind of culture shock, one that creeps onto your shoulder, where it sits, invisibly perched, blanketing your senses in disorienting fog.

 

So far it’s been a bit like returning from a vacation, only during your absence someone has entered your home and rearranged your furniture. Everything is the same, but different: it’s your end table, but it used to stand by the bed, not wedged into the entryway. And that’s your television, yes, but wasn’t it once mounted on the wall and not sat on the floor? Food portions, the shape of toilets, the maniacal placidity of habitual, universal bicycling, that overall feeling of European put-togetherness — all perceived eccentricities come together to create a form that, at the outset, appears human, but upon closer inspection reveals itself to be merely humanoid, a great pretender. While I haven’t yet seen an entire pig, skinned and hanging from a metal hook — a common sight on the roiling streets of Bangkok — the idea that great wax-sheathed wheels of cheese, the circumference and thickness of a car’s tire, or pyramidal piles of freshly baked baguettes, can be found on essentially every corner is, for now, equally wondrous. As is the air, which, while cold, is crisp and clean. And the streets: quiet, orderly, but just lively enough. It’s easy to see where that very pastiche, very American, romanticized notion of Europe is born.

Surely, though, I will wake up one morning in my apartment, which currently makes me feel as though I am living inside a foreign film, and the sheen will have dulled. The wooden floors, their creakiness, their propensity for doling out splinters, will have lost their character, warped seemingly overnight into hazards, grievances. Surely Amsterdam’s Escher-like architecture — the city seems as though it could be folded into itself — its flat line layout, so dizzying in its varied sameness — centuries-old buildings and their rectangular-plane windows, sharp corners and ninety-degree angles, their slender heights — will begin to make me feel as though I am locked in some sort of dystopian dream. Perhaps that orderliness, at the moment perfect antidote to the whirling mayhem in which I have lived for four long years will suddenly feel oppressing.

Perhaps I will want out.

But perhaps I will not.

There is beauty in that honeymoon’s ending. Of realizing that no place is perfect, and, beginning to recognize flaws for what they are — and then learning to love them. A move — to a new house, town, country — is the beginning of a new relationship — fresh, delicate, precious — and you have to realize, unless you are ignorant or crazy, how onerous, how fraught with risk, how difficult, how unlikely it is to succeed. But as with love, you move forward, caution be damned, and you breathe deep and you take that step and you once more put your toe, your foot, your leg, your body, into the great, international waters of the unknown.

And you see what happens next.

 

 


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Jokes of the Month—May 2016

By Alison  Smith

 

An Englishman, an Irishman, and Scottish man are drinking in a bar.
A fly lands in the Englishman’s pint.  The Englishman is incensed, and pushes his beer away and orders another.
A fly lands in the Scottish man’s pint.  The Scottish man looks at the fly, shrugs,  and just drinks the fly down.
A fly lands in the Irishman’s pint.  The Irishman is furious.  He picks out the fly, and violently shakes the fly over his pint glass while screaming, “Spit it out ya wee bugger!”

 

 

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs. When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor. Before she says a word, Bob says, “I’ll give you $800 to drop that towel.” After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves. The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs. When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, “Who was that?” “It was Bob the next door neighbor,” she replies. “Great,” the husband says, “did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?”

 

A man in Scotland calls his son in London the day before Christmas Eve and says,“I hate to ruin your day but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.”

 ‘Dad, what are you talking about?’ the son screams.

“We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer” the father says. “We’re sick of each other and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Leeds and tell her.”

Frantically, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. “Like hell they’re getting divorced!” she shouts, “I’ll take care of this!” She calls Scotland immediately and screams at her father “You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. ‘Sorted! They’re coming for Christmas – and they’re paying their own way.’


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Interview with Kieran Earley

By Alison Smith

 

Interview with Kieran Earley, CEO & Principal of The British School in the Netherlands

 

KieranKieran has been leading the BSN since September last year so, 8 months on, I was interested to know how he and his family were getting on and how he was taking to life in The Netherlands.  Here is his take on all things NL. 

 

What were your first thoughts when you heard you would be moving to the Netherlands?

Excitement and anticipation – personally and professionally. The International outlook and culture in the Netherlands will be enriching for our family (we have three teenage boys) and I belong to an amazing organisation with some innovative and exciting plans.

 

In what ways do you think life in NL is very different to life in the UK?

We’ve only been here 8 months so we’re still adapting but first impressions are that the Dutch are even more outdoor oriented than the British. Everyone gets out – in all weathers; the infrastructure and local planning help.

 

The Dutch say they are direct, the Brits may consider them rude…..what is your feeling about the famous Dutch directness?  Any first-hand experiences?

My wife is Dutch – so I have to be careful here! It’s fair to say that whilst being incredibly supportive, she’s kept my feet on the ground for many years. I have plenty of Dutch colleagues and find the direct approach refreshing and purposeful. Not quite sure what they make of me though!

 

Kieran 2Any good cycling anecdotes so far?

We bought five bikes on our first day in Voorschoten last August – we knew what to expect! Our most exciting ride as a family was coming back from New Year celebrations in Voorschoten. We’d heard that it would be a little crazy with fireworks in the street but weren’t expecting a whole new level of crazy. Unforgettable.

 

If you could sum up the Dutch in 5 words, what would they be?

No-nonsense, principled, friendly, discerning, determined. They are all really serious words! I think there is also a highly developed but subtle sense of mischief. This leads to special Dutch fun and a dark sense of humour.

 

Dutch cuisine……a contradiction in terms or a down-to-earth delight?  What are your favourite Dutch specialities and which ones would you secretly feed to the dog under the table?

I’m actually addicted to Croquetten and Bitterballen. I can’t believe they’re not a huge thing in the UK. I once put a bitterball in my mouth in one. Once.

 

The best day yet and why?

There have been many but last summer we rode to Leiden and had a family day in the sun. The history and architecture are different but subtly interwoven with the British experience and approach to life. I guess this is why we get on so well. It was so exciting to think that the canals, culture and castles would all be within striking distance.

 

Have you found a favourite restaurant? When you have visitors, where do you always take them?

We love going to La Casita in Voorschoten. Situated on old Voorstraat it is great for hapjes and has a super atmosphere. The host is most friendly and convivial! In the Hague we’ve been to De Basiliek a few times and have had some good nights there. Great food and a casually brilliant service.

 

Has being in The Netherlands changed you or your attitudes or opinions in any way?

Coming on to mainland Europe has been so refreshing. Everything feels closer. We’ve been on more trips in these 8 months than we would ever have contemplated in the UK. We’re driving through France to Barcelona this summer. We’re less than 30 mins from Schiphol too.

 

Sometimes, living abroad makes us realise how indoctrinated we are in our National habits. Which parts of the Dutch culture would you say you have embraced wholeheartedly?…and which parts of you will remain truly British?

No major culture shocks. The only thing the Dutch get wrong is tea.

 

Is there anything you have particularly struggled with since arriving in NL?

De taal is nog een drempel! I wrote about learning Dutch on my blog here. I got a load of hits so I can’t be alone in feeling this. I think it’s incredibly important to learn the language and to insist on speaking it when you hear perfect English in return.

 

How would you translate the word “gezellig” ?

Ha ha! That lovely happy feeling at the cusp of an evening among family and friends when you know that nothing could be better.

 

If you would like to know more, you can read Kieran’s blog at kieranearley.co.uk or follow his Twitter feed @kieran_earley.

 


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Victoria Wood

Fond girly giggles by Alison Smith

 

If God had meant them to be lifted and separated, He would have put one on each shoulder.

 

We’d like to apologise to our viewers in the north…………it must be awful for them.

 

A man is designed to walk three miles in the rain to phone for help when the car breaks down, and a woman is designed to say, “You took your time” when he comes back dripping wet.

 

A minor operation is one performed on somebody else.

 

Sexual harassment at work… is it a problem for the self-employed?

 

People think I hate sex. I don’t. I just don’t like things that stop you seeing the television properly.

 

All my friends started getting boyfriends, but I didn’t want a boyfriend, I wanted a thirteen-colour biro.

 

I once went to one of those parties where everyone throws their car keys into the middle of the room. I don’t know who got my moped but I’ve been driving that Peugeot for years.

 

The first day I met my producer, she said, “I’m a radical feminist lesbian.” I thought what would the Queen Mum do? So I just smiled and said, “We shall have fog by tea-time.”

 

I thought Coq au Vin was love in a lorry.

 

I’ve got a degree, does that mean I have to spend my life with intellectuals? I’ve also got a life-saving certificate, but I don’t spend my evenings diving for a rubber brick with my pyjamas on.

 

My boyfriend had a sex manual but he was dyslexic. I was lying there and he was looking for my vinegar.

 

It will be a traditional Christmas, with presents, crackers, door slamming and people bursting into tears, but without the dead thing in the middle. We’re vegetarians.

 

Life’s not fair, is it? Some of us drink champagne in the fast lane, and some of us eat our sandwiches by the loose chippings on the A597.

 

My children won’t even eat chips because some know-all bastard at school told them a potato was a vegetable.

 

When I told jokes about cystitis, people would write in and say, “I’ve got cystitis and it isn’t funny,” so I would reply, “Well, send it back and ask for one that is.”

 

 


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Kings (of Rock and Roll) Day

by Mike Hayes
On Koningsdag I’ll be performing the music of the Koning of Rock’n’Roll,
yes the Pelvis. At the same time, I hope to collect some euros for the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) who did their best to help my daughter.

En Pluche

Nick’s Nosh #2 | April 2016

Nick

By Nick Nugent

 

En Pluche ***

Ruysdaelstraat 50, 1071 XE Amsterdam

Website: www.enpluche.nl

Tel: +3120-4714695
Email: info@enpluche.nl

 

portfolio-detail-enpluchewandI had one of my best friends over on Saturday, and we ate dinner at En Pluche. Just like Daalder, which I have also reviewed this month, the decor is Art Deco. The effect is exactly like the waiting room in a 1920s movie theatre. At first, the red velvet chairs looked uncomfortable, but after sitting on them for a while they turned out to be very comfy indeed.  The red theme is broken up by the fancy Art Deco lighting and black and white photos. Because we were dressed quite smartly, they put us very near the door. The more scruffy clientele got whipped to the back quite quickly.  A very Oud Zuid couple occupied the other seat opposite the door. They appeared to be on a date. I hope you know where I’m going with this?  It’s one of the places to be seen!

I have to admit I was worried this was going to be another Momo type place. That is,  all mouth and no trousers in the food department.  I have to say that that this view was misconceived as you will read.

The concept is you can pick from a three-course meat or fish menu, or the four course Chef Koen’s choice —which is a bit of a mixture.  We both went for Koen’s choice.

The starter was a ceviche of Corvina with puffed quinoa for crunch, very thinly sliced kumquat, raw radish and corn freshly stripped from the cob and an exquisite lime dressing. We chose to pair wines with this, and the sommelier’s choice was Pinot Grigio. I overruled with a Pouilly Fume, which matched perfectly.

The second course was pork belly with prawn.  You may be thinking that this is odd, but this is a classic inEn-Pluche-1 things like Chinese cooking, so I was quite prepared.  I asked what the wine pairing would be with this.  We were offered a Barbera d’Alba from Italy, which I felt was too much.  At this point, the waiter gave in and called the sommelier over.  A very nice chap called Kaj.  My personal choice to go with this was the Chablis, but he insisted that a red would be better and we compromised on a Dornfelder from Germany.  He left us half a glass of Chablis, so we could compare, which was nice. The dish was served with a bisque, which had a creamy quality and strong flavor. My friend and I agreed that the Chablis did a better job, although the Dornfelder was a great glass of wine, which we enjoyed once we wolfed it down.

EnPluche_FCThe main was lamb done two ways with hummus, pea puree and a curd with a delicate sauce and sautéed pulses.  The lamb fillet was served as two beautifully cooked slithers with a nice pink strip down the middle and a rillette under the curd.  This was flavoursome dish, which took a while to eat due to the richness. The hummus was creamy smooth but lacked a bit of a punchy flavour. The pea puree was very green, but a bit coarse on an otherwise delicate plate.  A nice dish, but the previous two were better.  A Bordeaux was suggested at the match for this, and it was so good we asked Kaj to leave the bottle.

The ingredients of the  “Blood Orange” dessert did not match the name.  There was a white chocolate parfait disc at the bottom, which had a whole load of stuff spiked into it including a sesame crisp, a couple of strips of meringue and had some segments of blood orange on top, with some cocoa soil for good measure. Regular readers know I am not one for desserts.  This is the best dessert I’ve had in Amsterdam for years. Right up there with the Bord’eau chocolate bomb!!

14I know what you are thinking: “Why has he only given three stars? With all that great food and décor it must surely be worth more.”  In my rating, I have a four-star level. This is semi-flexible, but you have to do most things well.  La Rive and Daalder sit in that group.  En Pluche did many things very well, but there are faults.  At some points we were left for quite a few minutes without any attention. Particularly at the start and the end, which is a very unfortunate Dutch Tradition.  Kaj was a great sparring partner for the wine, so big thumbs up for him.  Apart from dessert, I would call this a good feed and not more.  I also think the clientele has something to do with how the place operates.  I believe that the mix of the Oud Zuid crowd, with one or two tourists, means they can get away with a few things.  The final nail in their four-star coffin came on the way back from the men’s room. I spotted the cheese platter and asked the nearest staff where they get it from.  “A cow!” was the answer.  I think Koen the chef corrected him quickly with L’amuse the cheese shop near the Olympic stadium.

This place is right, but I would want a seat more in the mix of it in the back. Try it. It’s good. Superb in parts. I for one will return.


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Nick’s Nosh | April 2016

Nick

By Nick Nugent

Daalder ****

Lindengracht 90
1015KK Amsterdam

Website: www.daalderamsterdam.nl

Tel: 020 624 8864
Email: info@daalderamsterdam.nl

 

terrasje_1

David from Anglo Info had put me on to this one. I had also heard about it in the pub while watching the rugby. So with two recommendations I had to try it out.  Sunday is the new Saturday for me as my girlfriend works on Saturday evenings, so the choice of restaurants is a bit more limited.  Luckily Daalder is open.

The concept is simple. There is no menu. You just choose the number of courses you want and they will create a surprise menu for you.  This for me requires a bit of negotiation at the start.  In this sort of place, unless it is a special occasion, I would usually go for 3-4 courses.  However, I always worry I might miss out on something, as I like to have meat and a fish dish as part of the meal.  This involves asking what the fish is likely to be, how many courses I need to take to get it, and whether there are some major dislikes.  I think in total it may have taken 10-15 to get the ordering done, which is not unusual for me.  As my booking was last minute, they only had a place for us at the bar. It was beautifully set out with a proper place setting, so I did not care too much.  The other benefit of the higher vantage point is you can see them delivering the food and preparing the drinks.   The preparation of the coffee at the end was a sight.  It involved five pieces of Tupperware, with little sweet things that were removed from their storage one at a time and replaced after each little sweet thing reached the platter to go with the coffee.  Lots of effort, but I get too far ahead of myself.

On sitting, we took a Cava to start. Which was closely followed by an amuse of Kroepoek of pecorino with mustard that was delightfully melt-in-the-mouth tasty.

In the end, we ordered four courses and asked if they could pair with wines.  I had been looking at the wine menu before the visit. It’s small but has some excellent choices.  I had my eye on a Vouvray, which I was hoping would be paired with the fish course.

There was another amuse of tomato sorbet topped with pesto, parmesan foam and tomato powder.  My notes say – boom, boom, boom.  This was concerning the flavours they achieved with this dish, which were massive.

The starter was steak tartar Arabian style, which was very spicy. It was too big, but with exquisite flavour. Even though I’m a spice lover, my palette was almost destroyed by the chilli in this dish.  Nevertheless, it’s great to get some flavour in Amsterdam!  The steak tartar was paired with a Faubel Riesling.  I think the sommelier, who was not there, was aiming for the classic slightly sweet Riesling to go with spicy foods.  For me, this did not work with the dish, which needed more savoury notes to balance and this just was not present in the wine.

The fish course was sea bass fillet with raspberry coulis, radish, aioli and pomme purée.  I was surprised with the great combination of raspberry with salty fish cooked to perfection. The mash was somewhat cold. I did not record the wine choice for this but again it did not have the acidity to match the raspberry and aioli.

The fish was followed by a gnocchi with reblochon cheese, onion compote and hazelnut.  A sort of deconstructed tartiflette if you will. It was very flavoursome. The onion compote with a white Rioja unfortunately also did not work for me

At this point, I think I realised the sommelier seems to have a problem with more robust wine choices.  Maybe their palette is too sensitive and they refuse to match the acid content with the dish preferring a smoother wine. Unfortunately, this white Rioja tasted like water with the last dish and the others missed the spot as well.  So I am choosing to ignore the wine choices somewhat from this review.  The staff were getting a little upset as well, with me criticising all the choices so far, so they decided to give me a couple of options with the main.

The main was a braised veal cheek with truffle risotto and shaved raw mushroom.  It was a very rich dish. The veal could be eaten with a spoon and the risotto was classically prepared.  We chose a Cote du Rhone, which was the best match of the night with this dish.

For dessert, we had cardamon mouse, goats cheese ice cream, citrus fruit pieces, coulis and nuts.  It follows the fashion for slightly more savoury desserts, which I don’t mind at all. I rejected the Sauternes due to the potential flavour clash and ended up with a great Moscatel.

Whether you are seated at the bar or sat at a proper table, the restaurant is a beautiful place to be with its art deco styling and bird murals.  There was a nice atmosphere in there, and for a proper Dutch restaurant the service was really good—even when they have a complete fusspot like yours truly.  As I mentioned above, I’m going to let it go about the wine choices as that can be very personal. For me, this is the best meal that I’ve had in Amsterdam for a long time.  Despite the issues, they deserve four stars.  I think this is the first fours stars I have given in about six months.

 

BAR Daalder

 

 

 


Chairman-Nickespeare

Britsoc Chairman’s Corner April 2016

The news from our Belgian neighbours was terrible and my wishes go out to them on behalf of the society.

Last month we held a very successful G&T and whisky evening in Timothy Oulton, which was attended by around 30 guests.  We are in discussions about doing another one in May, perhaps with something more female friendly.

Our friends at the Greenwoods Tea Room on the Keizersgracht hosted our Britsoc Curry Night and many thanks to them for the great spread they put on.  We also had a pub night in association with Meetin at Molly’s were we had around 20 people.

As the clocks change, and we head into Spring, the weather finally seems to be improving and thoughts turn to the outdoors and what we can do there.  Geoff will soon be announcing the dates for the sailing to resume. And those less hardy golfers come out of the woodwork to remove the cobwebs from their swings.  Details will be available on our events calendar website.

There will be another edition of the Curry Club on the 14th April at a venue yet to be announced.

2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of  William Shakespeare.

Britsoc are hosting a very special Birthday Celebration, but hurry as there are only a few tickets left.

Shakespeare Night Tickets
2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. Britsoc are hosting a very special Birthday Celebration. Only a few tickets left.

With Kings Day in April our programme will be a little less full this month with social events, but I aim to remedy that in May and June.

Cheers

Nick Nugent

Britsoc Chairman


GreenwoodsWidePoster2016

Britsoc Shakespeare Night Feast 2016

2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare.

Britsoc are hosting a very special Birthday Celebration. Hurry. Only a few tickets left.

Shakespeare Night Tickets
2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. Britsoc are hosting a very special Birthday Celebration. Only a few tickets left.

Shakespeare 400 plus more with the British Society

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, our broad imaginations will once again produce a hotchpotch of Shakespearean and other English delights. There will be poetry, comedy monologues, stories, songs, quotes, puns, jokes – something for everyone.

You too can enjoy the spectacle, and even try your hand at giving your own unique interpretation of some of those English classics.

Be English for the evening and come along and join us in our unique annual “Shakestravaganza”.

And, of course, “once more into the feast”, enjoying four courses of Greenwoods’ justly renowned English cuisine.

The meal will cost 35.00 Euros for members, 37.00  Euros for non-members.

There will be separate tabs for drinks, and, of course, all the fun is free.

Please let Paul Huxley know by email if you wish to join us and if you would like read to something.

Organiser
Phone me on 0650641461. Or Email me here

Details

Where: Greenwoods Tea Room, Keizersgracht 465 Amsterdam , 1017 DK Netherlands
Date: April 23
Time: 8:00 pm – 11:45 pm
Cost: €35 – €37
Shakespeare Night Tickets
2016 commemorates 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. Britsoc are hosting a very special Birthday Celebration. Only a few tickets left.

National News and Pictures
Date: 16/02/2012
PH: Johnathan Adam Davies
Pictured: Ronald 'Ronnie' Corbett
Caption: Investitures at Buckingham Palace. Mr Ronald Corbett receives the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) for services to Entertainment and to Charity at Buckingham Palace.  Westminster, London.

Joke of the Month | April 2016

Alison

By Alison Smith

As tribute to the late Ronnie Corbett CBE, here’s one of his jokes.

“A man from Dagenham has named his son TGF 308F. He said he may not be rich but when he eventually leaves his son his Ford Mondeo, at least he’ll have his own personalised number plate.”

 

And one from Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

cmu322Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson decide to go on a camping trip. After dinner and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night, and go to sleep.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson decide to go on a camping trip. After dinner and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night, and go to sleep.

Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend.

“Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”

Watson replied, “I see millions of stars.”

“What does that tell you?” asked Sherlock

Watson pondered for a minute.

“Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.”
“Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo.”
“Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three.”
“Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant.”
“Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.”
“What does it tell you, Holmes?”

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke:

“Watson, you idiot. Someone has stolen our tent!”