New Year's Eve, 2010

Greetings, Habs! It’s 15 minutes before midnight in England, and 5:45 p.m. here in Houston. I am sitting here with a glass of wine, grading the Christmas Quiz entries. On the television we have the Graham Norton show live (don’t ask me how John manages this) and will be toasting the British New Year rather than staying up until midnight.

Just looking at Round 8, Question 1 (name the nursery rhyme) “Rodent meets with (un)timely end.” I remember that John immediately said “Pied Piper.” “Naaahh, I said, it’s obviously “Three Blind Mice.”

Oh dear, we were both wrong; in fact, only the Emsworth Habs have that one right . . . “Hickory Dickory Dock.”

Happy New Year! And I’ll have the results up in a jiff.

UPDATE: Wow! What a spectacular fireworks display at the London Eye! Were any Habs there?

Christmas Quiz

Pencils sharpened, Habs? It’s time for the Annual Christmas Quiz, furnished by Charlie. I hope there will be a better turnout than last year.

Please note that some of the questions require pictures. Ignore these questions. I would have removed them, but didn’t want to see any of the other questions in advance.

Here are the rules:

This quiz is open to any household that contains a Habershon, a née Habershon, a commenter, or anyone who resides on the Branch Office page.

One point will be awarded for each correct answer. One point will be deducted/added for each household with more than/fewer than four participants. For example, if there are ten participants, six points will be deducted. And if there are only two participants, two points will be added.

The team with the highest score will receive a £10 (or equivalent currency) Amazon gift voucher. If there are more than eight entries a second prize will be awarded. Correct answers and the team results will be published on the website as soon as possible after the closing date.

No looking up answers on the internet or in reference books. All answers must come straight from your heads. Submit your answers to the Webmistress (cjathearn @ no later than 11pm GMT on December 28th.

As usual, no correspondence will be entered into, and the Quizmaster’s decision is final. Only one entry per household.


Good luck, and a Merry Christmas to everyone!

Other hot yoga

I’ve been trying other hot yoga studios in Houston over the last couple of months. Just for a change. It’s certainly made me appreciate Bikram Hot Yoga Houston, where I teach.

One of the studios offers a 6 o’clock hot 90-minute class every weekday morning. It’s only a three-minute drive from our house, so I thought it would be a good one to try. Let’s say the experience has not been pleasant. The first time I was quite surprised, because the instructor didn’t show up until 5:50 (where I teach we show up for class 30 minutes before it starts so that we can greet the students and answer their questions and . . . okay . . . take their money). Then the next time she showed up at 5:59. And the next time she showed up at 6:10! It’s very frustrating sitting outside a studio at that time of the morning wondering if there’s going to be a class. Anyway, I had paid in advance for a package of ten classes, so kept going. Then one Monday morning five of us waited outside in the cold for the instructor. Fortunately the cleaner arrived at 6 and let us in. We waited inside for the instructor to show. Then at 6:20 the owner arrived and started the class. She told us afterwards that she had two screaming babies at home, that the instructor who was scheduled hadn’t shown up, and that the instructor who was late the other times was no longer workng there!

I took a breather from the place for a while and tried another studio. That will be a separate story. Then this morning I returned to try again. I got there at 5:50 and the lights were ON! I joyfully grabbed my mat and walked in.

The room was cold.

The instructor walked in to teach the class, told us she couldn’t get the heat to work, and would we prefer to do a Vinyasa Flow class? I didn’t like the idea, but didn’t say anything, being a new student. One of the other students said “okay,” so it was decided. The instructor then said that the class would only be 60 minutes. Then she turned on some music. Some kind of country version of “Amazing Grace” blasted into the room. I thought, “surely she’s going to turn it down?”, but no. She then had us start the routine. Within 30 seconds we were doing rapid forward bends and my back started complaining. In Bikram Yoga we don’t do forward bends until at least ten minutes into class, when our spines are warmed up. The whole thing felt dangerous. I tried to stay with her instructions, wanting to be careful of my back, but they were drowned out by a country version of “Here Comes the Sun.” I rolled up my mat and left.

All of this has made me appreciate the place where I teach and practice so much. Bikram Yoga is safe, disciplined, and you know that if you pay for a 90-minute hot class, that’s what you’re going to get.

Notice that I haven’t mentioned the name of the studio. I figure that the owners are trying to make a living, just like everyone else in the world. Maybe they’ll iron out the kinks eventually.

Kinks? Ouch.

Coleford House – 1958

I’ve just been looking at the Message Book. Recently, someone called Kieron Wood posted a link to some old cine films on YouTube. Apparently his family lived at Coleford House before we moved there. Were they between us and the Jones family?

Fascinating film. Around the sixth minute there’s a sighting of Dr. Terry and the Alvis (license plate FB1, as Dr. Terry points out), and of Mrs. Terry.

Here’s the link. Enjoy, Habs!

And thank you, Kieron.

P.S. I just went back to the Message Book and clicked on Kieron’s website. Fascinating!