Friday, February 27, 2009

Questions, questions

Why does fish food smell like fish?

This has troubled me for a while now. I haven't actually read through the ingredients of fish food but I do worry that we're turning our beta's and goldfish into cannibals.

Other things I lay awake at night pondering include:

Do ghosts change their clothes? Are they wearing the clothes they died in? The clothes they were buried in? Their favourite outfit maybe? I can see downsides to the first two so I'm hoping it's the latter (spare a thought for the Tory politician experimenting with asphyxiation wearing a pair of his wife's stockings and sucking on an orange if they're forever stuck in the attire they were wearing when they passed away). And how come when you see ghosts in the movies they can walk through walls but they never fall through the floor?

Why do TV commercials delight in telling us that a product is new and improved? If it has been improved then it's not new is it? And when they offer 'free gifts'. Who pays for a gift? "Here you go Jim, just what you've always wanted. Happy Birthday", "Oh great thanks, you shouldn't have. How much do I owe you?".

What time of day does food go off on the expiry date? Are you ok until midnight? Or should you stop eating it at 4pm just to be safe?

How come there's a light in the fridge but not in the freezer? And how come when you're really hungry but you haven't done a big shop you keep going back to the fridge to see if anything new has arrived since you last looked?

Is it ok to eat green crisps?

Why do dogs always think it's for them when the doorbell goes?

Why do people say they 'slept like a baby' when they have a good night's sleep? Surely they don't mean they woke up every 10 minutes crying and then shit themselves?

Why did your Mum used to put all the plants in the bath when you went on holiday?

Why do you have to wash everything before you put it in the dishwasher?

But the main question that keeps me awake at night is:

Do shepherds have a problem with falling asleep at work? I mean, a big part of the job involves counting sheep.

It was this quandary that stopped me moving to New Zealand to be a sheep farmer. I heard that sheep out number people over there by 20 to 1 which sounded an appealing prospect considering how people are. It also looks very green in New Zealand when you see it on the telly so they must get a lot of rain and I don't want spend a lot of time stuck on a mountain asleep in the rain. You'd catch your death (if death was catching).

Or maybe I just think too much.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Black and White

After yesterday's successful attempt at posting photo's for the first time I thought I'd try another.

These are my Wife's dogs Boomer & Busby:

Ok, so they're my dogs too. I never had a dog before I met my Wife so in some ways I'm still getting used to it.

Boomer, (on the left of the picture) is 5 years old. My Wife had him before we met so he was part of the package. He's a good natured dog so it was easy getting used to him.

They really are as different as black and white. Boomer will lick you to death and if he's known you five seconds, he's known you all his life.
Busby on the other hand..
Busby just turned one in January. He's very energetic and enthusiastic about everything. He runs every where he goes as fast as he can. Because our house is mainly tile, sometimes he can't stop himself before he slides into the wall. We'll hear his collar jingling about then a sudden thump! But he tends to shake it off and carries on running about.

I think it was a culture shock for Boomer when we brought Busby home. Boomer had been used to being an only child (personally I hate it when people refer to their dogs as children but I'll let it slide for now). He was used to having everything his own way, including his own food bowl and toys.

Busby loves to share. Well, maybe share isn't the right word but he likes to copy what Boomer does and follows him around the house.

Sometimes they get along:

But sometimes Busby's invitation to play makes Boomer go:

Actually, I think Boomer is probably yawning in that picture but usually he just wants a quite life and will curl up on something soft and sleep until it's time to go to bed.
I think Boomer feels the same way about Busby as I do about him. We were ok before they were around, but you slowly get used to them and miss them when they're not around.

The reason I agreed to get another dog was so that I could name it. Busby is named after Sir Matt Busby, one of the greatest football (soccer) managers of all time. Sir Matt was manager of Manchester United between 1946-1969 (and again briefly in 1970-71).
He formed a very talented team made up of young men who were the envy of the footballing world. They were dubbed 'the Busby Babes' and were destined for greatness.
Sadly, the team suffered tragedy before it was able to realise it's potential. On February 6th 1958 the plane they were travelling on from Belgrade back to Manchester crashed on take off after stopping in Munich to refuel.

Seven Manchester United players were killed in the crash, an eighth later died in hospital. A total of 23 people died. Sir Matt Busby was hospitalised with injuries and spent two months in hospital, twice being administered the last rites.
He returned to Manchester United to rebuild his team and in 1968 they became the first English side to win the European Cup. A trophy they won for the the third time in 2008 (the other came in the historic treble year of 1999). He was later knighted by the Queen.
Busby (the dog) was born on January 20th 2008. Sir Matt Busby died January 20th 1994.
2008 was the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster. It was also the year I got married.
There's a certain symmetry there, or maybe I'm just an old romantic who likes to link what happens in real life to the great Manchester United but either way, 2008 was a great year!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

All creatures great and small..

So we have these creatures on one of the plants in the garden.

Obviously they're caterpillars but it was unusual to see so many of them all together. There must've been 15-20 of them.

We do get a lot of butterflies in the summer time so we were wondering if these would eventually sprout wings and fly away.
Here's a closer look:

Anyway, not much to add really, I just thought this was interesting.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

And on the seventh day..

It's Sunday today, a day of rest so instead of going to church, my Wife and I decided to watch a documentary over breakfast.

Ok, so we're not really religious and don't go to church but the documentary was about religion. It was a documentary by Bill Maher called 'Religulous'. The basic premise is that the host travels the world to meet people of various religions to discuss their beliefs and, admittedly, to mock them ever so slightly.

It was evident from the people he interviewed that all had taken the preachings of their chosen religion and interpreted it their own way. Yet all claimed that their way was the true word of God.

I must admit I struggle to understand how people who are seemingly rational in other aspects of their lives can be so irrational in their beliefs. I find it hard to take an adult seriously when they explain the illogical as purely 'faith', or by 'miracle'.

People who excuse everything they do as 'God's will' trouble me. If something good happens, it is because of God. If something bad happens, then it is because God is trying to test their faith, and they're happy that he will never give them more than they can handle.

Sometimes, bad things happen. Sometimes good things happen. That is the nature of life but people should be able to think for themselves. We can still do good deeds and live a healthy happy life by making our own choices and living with the consequences.

I think a lot of people are afraid to admit that we are on our own. That this is all there is. It scares them to think that there isn't some controlling being telling them how to behave.

If more people thought that this is all there is, that life is as good as it gets I believe that the world would be a much better place. I think that someone who believes that after they die they will go to a better place is giving themselves a ready made excuse not to live as good a life as they possibly can. Basically, if they do what they think they're supposed to do, they will be rewarded in the next life.

Think about it. When I die, I have no idea what will happen. I don't think I'll float up to the sky and be reunited with all of my family members on a big fluffy cloud. If I do, it'll be pretty boring after a while. Will I be able to look down on the people I knew who are still alive? If so, I'll basically be going back in time to when I was a kid, sat around with my Grandparents watching Coronation Street on TV. Is that your idea of heaven? If yes, do it while you're still alive. If no, what is your interpretation of the after life?

The word interpretation comes up a lot when discussing religion. This leads me to believe that there's something not quite right here. Surely if this was the true word of God, there would be just one true religion? There would certainly be no room for 'interpretation'. And this is where the trouble starts. Different people interpret religion different ways. Some believe it exists to give you guidance throughout your life. Others believe that it is pure fact that should be taken literally.

I think belief in doing good and helping others is a good thing. Believing that the Creator of the universe (via his autobiography) wants you to behead someone because they doubt his existence is not.

Maybe it's harder to not believe. Sometimes I wish I had something I could believe in where nothing, not even hard scientific evidence to the contrary could make me change my mind. I've always questioned what I've been told. At school this got me in trouble with the teachers but in order for me to believe something, I had to understand it. It would be naive to take everything you hear as fact.

In Religulous, Bill Maher makes the point that if you were told that the story of Jack and the beanstalk was true according to the Bible and the story of Jonah and the whale was a fairytale people would defend the existence of magic beans. The point is, neither story is particularly logical and could not happen in real life, but because we are told, in a book, that one happened thousands of years ago people believe it to be true, where as the other happened 'once upon a time' in a different book and is accepted as fiction.

Think for yourself. Ask questions. By all means believe what you believe but listen to both sides and make up your own mind. Think logically. Sometimes you can't just excuse things by faith.

I was raised a Catholic. I went to Catholic school. We went to church. I was even an Altar boy. I listened to their side. I asked the questions. I got in trouble for questioning the teachers and the Priest but as soon as I was old enough to think for myself, I decided that life wasn't for me. I don't begrudge my upbringing. I'm grateful I had the opportunity to hear their side and come to my own conclusion.

One of the most vivid memories of my time at a Catholic Primary school is when the entire class sang a song that said you will go to hell if you tell a lie. Obviously, I was terrified by this. Kids tell lies, and it is not a healthy way to stop them from telling lies by telling them, at 6 years old, that they will burn in hell for all eternity if they do.

By all means give them alternate views and let them make up their own mind, but to me, a lot of religion seems to be about instilling fear in people in order to keep them in line. Do as we say or suffer the consequences when you die. This is very clever as there is no way of proving that heaven doesn't exist. If you live your life that way and you're wrong, so what, there will be no consequences. But if you don't live your life that way and you're wrong you have a lot to lose!

I'm not going to go into the whole war and religion thing but I think the people who created these religions basically had good intentions. I doubt they ever conceived of the idea that someone thousands of years later would take their words and twist them to justify killing another human being.

It is this bastardisation of religion that I find offensive. There are so many people using religion to excuse their prejudice and ignorance. The teachings of religion are basically good but they should not be used to excuse all things.

Tonight, it's the Oscars and I will bet you now that a number of recipients will thank God for their win. Surely, with all the troubles in the world today, God would have more important things to do than use his powers to make sure that some pretentious luvvie gets recognition from their peers for pretending to be someone else in a film. Unless he truly is a vain and jealous God who gets off on hearing people thank him on live TV in front of millions of people.

At the Olympics, it is not unheard of for a sprinter to thank God for their gold medal win. I can imagine God in his workshop, devising a new plan to end world hunger and famine when he suddenly realises the men's 400 metres is about to start so he stops what he is doing to shift his thoughts to that tall fella running around in a circle who prayed slightly harder than the other 7 racing with him. This doesn't make sense. You won the race. Maybe you trained harder than the others. Maybe not, but why not take the credit yourself and let everyone see how well you did?

Anyway, going back to Religulous. It's not going to change anyones mind if they follow a religion. It is a humourous look at faith aimed at non-believers. I haven't seen any more of Bill Maher's work so I don't know if the style is typical of him and maybe it runs about 20 minutes too long but if you're open minded, it's definitely worth a look.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Life's too short..

This week, someone posted an old school photo on Facebook. The photo must've been over 20 years ago, when I was about 8 years old.

It certainly brought back some memories, especially as most of the class seemed to have picked up on it and exchanged messages and memories.

One thing that I discovered was that two boys from that class have since passed away. One was in the RAF (Royal Air Force) and was apparently killed in action. The other was killed in a car crash not far from our old school.

This really affected me, seeing all of those old faces, full of youthful innocence and hope for the future, and realising that not all of them would get to experience the things we take for granted. They'll never get married, or have kids of their own.

Maybe it gets to you more when it is someone your own age, someone you knew when you were a kid and you suddenly realise how precious life is.

About a year before that photo was taken, another boy in our class died. He had a history of health problems, mostly with his heart and he sadly passed away when he was seven years old.

This was my first experience of death and I still think about it a lot. One day you're playing football in the playground then one of the kids is off school for a few days before you hear that he died in hospital. You don't really understand it, only that he won't be coming back to school.

Our class were allowed to go to the funeral. It was a Catholic school attached to the church so we didn't have far to go from class but one thing that still bugs me to this day is that our class, his class, the friends who saw him everyday had to leave his funeral early to go for swimming lessons at the local pool.

Even now this strikes me as insensitive. I remember we had to sit at the back of the church so that our exit wouldn't disturb the service. Surely it wouldn't have hurt to miss the swimming lesson just this once? After all, it was extraordinary circumstances.

While we were waiting for the bus to take us to the pool, I remember hearing the loudest bang I've ever heard. I couldn't tell you what it was but back then but I remember it made me jump. I thought it was our dearly departed friend showing his displeasure at our premature exit and I felt guilty for abandoning him and also felt resentment at being forced to leave him alone. Maybe even as an 8 year old I thought too much about things!

A couple of years later, we finished Primary school and all went our separate ways, on to various High schools and lost touch (until Facebook).

Almost twenty years had passed when one Saturday morning I went to check the mail at my front door and looking up at me was a face I recognised but couldn't quite place. In my confusion I even thought it was my own picture. On the front page of the local newspaper was an old school photo of the classmate who had died. He was smiling, looking directly at the camera in the old school uniform.

It turns out that the children's hospital where he had died had been involved in an organ harvesting scandal and his parent's had fought a long battle to force the hospital to return his organs. It had come to light many years later and I remember hearing about it on the news but it never crossed my mind that anyone I knew would be affected.

I often think about those old classmates and those years were probably the happiest of my life (until I met my gorgeous Wife obviously!), so I was pretty excited when one of them posted that photo and more people came across it and got in touch. It brought back lots of memories but it also made me realise how far I've come.

I'm sure most are still living in the same area we grew up in, seeing the same faces and going to the same places. I miss it sometimes, but there is so much in this world to discover that I'm also glad I moved on. I'd love to go back one day and show my Wife 'round our way' where I grew up, but a short visit will be enough for me.

You can't live in the past and you owe it to those who fell along the way to live every moment.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Biggest Loser

The first rule of fat club? You do not talk about fat club.

The second rule of fat club? You do not talk about fat club!

And so tonight, The Biggest Loser is on TV.

This is a great show to watch. It's a real feel good TV show full of ups and downs and a roller coaster ride of emotions.

The start of each new season makes you feel good about yourself. No matter how many times you press the snooze button on your alarm clock to avoid going to the gym, or how many squares of dairy milk you have with your cup of tea, at least you're not as bad as those fatties right?

For two hours every Tuesday, or an hour and 20 minutes whenever you catch up with your DVR you can follow the efforts of the contestants and exercise vicariously through them. Sometimes we like to order a pizza and then settle down to watch. Is that so wrong??

There have been some changes creeping in to the show in recent seasons that don't sit quite right with me. The product placement was the first thing I noticed. At first it was a way of passing on advice on what the contestants should be eating and drinking but now the situations are so contrived and obvious that they may as well cut to commercials. "Its 4pm Bob and I'm craving something sweet so I think I'll raid the pantry and see what I can find". "No, wait, don't do that. Chewing Extra sugar free gum will satisfy those sweet cravings while containing virtually no calories. Oh, and don't forget to wash it down with a glass of Britta filtered water."

The other thing that really bugs me about the show these days is the editing. You know that if during a challenge they cut to an interview with a contestant and they are really confident about the challenge, you know they're going to fall flat on their face.

Its the same with the weigh ins. They'll show a number of contestants weighing and then go to a commercial break. Only before the commercial break, they'll show clips of various people's reactions to the result about to be revealed that have no baring on reality. The action always ends with a slow motion montage of the contestants, and the trainers shocked expressions as though someone has chewed off their own leg right in front of them to lose those extra few pounds.

After the commercial break the results will be revealed and you know that it will be the complete opposite of what was suggested by the editing.

Why is this necessary? We're still going to watch. We don't want little teasers about what is about to happen, as soon as we've fast forwarded through the commercials we'll see it for ourselves anyway. We can wait.

Do they think that our attention span is so short that we'll forget what we were doing and change the channel if they don't keep us on the edge of our seat desperate to see what was so shocking that Bob held his head in his hands?

It is really annoying when it is played in real time and you see the truth. The big girl in the purple t-shirt wasn't covering her mouth because she was so shocked that the big girl in the yellow only lost two pounds. It turns out she was just yawning and covering her mouth out of politeness.

One thing I noticed on last weeks show was one of the trainers actually telling the contestants who to vote off. I think this goes against the spirit of the game. The trainers are there to help the contestants lose weight. It's not about them. They're not the winners. Don't let it become Bob versus Jillian.

As the finale approaches, you start feeling inspired by the contestants and thinking if they can do it, so can you. And you will. Starting Monday.

Then Monday comes around and you decide to go to the gym on Tuesday instead. If you do an extra half an hour it will make up for missing Monday so you feel better about hitting that snooze button.

I suppose the secret is knowing when to make the change for yourself. By all means watch the show and get inspired but if you're doing it because of the people on TV, the momentum is unlikely to last long. Only you will know when the time is right for you. But the time is rarely next Monday.

The Biggest Loser is on NBC, Tuesdays at 7pm Central time. You can also check out The Biggest Loser Club online.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love is in the air..

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today has been a great day. Waking up next to my beautiful wife. Surprising her with valentine's gifts, watching a movie in bed with a nice cup of tea, breakfast, another great movie, lunch and now a couple of hours to freshen up and get changed before going out to dinner (surprise reservations at her favourite restaurant).

This has been the best Valentine's Day I've ever experienced and I can only thank my gorgeous trophy bride for that.

So this short post is just for her to tell her how much I love her and that if each remaining day of our life together is 1/10th as good as today I will die a happy man (as long as it's not a sudden, gruesome death obviously).

I might not be the best at saying how I feel, but put me in an empty room with a keyboard and I'll get there in the end. Thanks for putting up with me. I Love You.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Superstitious? Or maybe just a little stitious?

Tomorrow is Friday the 13th. For some, the unluckiest day there is.

I'm not really superstitious myself, although I've always been wary of the number 13. This is based more on the myth rather than any personal experience. For some reason the numbers 47 and 87 have the same effect, probably because 47 is 13 minutes to the hour, and 87 is 13 less than 100 which is a nice round number.

Ok, so I may have been dropped as a child (at least that's what I may claim to be the cause of some of my quirks!) but a lot of people take it very seriously.

This is what confuses me. They do anything to avoid the number 13 because of its conceived unluckiness but by doing so they draw more attention to it. By skipping the number 13 whenever possible, they are inadvertently highlighting the number as the only one they avoid.

Anyway, if you're thinking of staying in bed all day tomorrow, make it for a better reason than the number 13.

Good luck!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I remember when all this were fields..

So Chelsea have sacked Big Phil.

Let me re-phrase that. World Cup Winner Luiz Felipe Scolari has been sacked as manager of new money Chelsea. After seven months.

Let's go back ten years. Actually, we really don't have to go back that far but back in the late 90's, could you really envision a state of affairs where Chelsea were attracting a world cup winning manager, never mind sacking him after only seven months? Now I'm not suggesting Chelsea have got eyes bigger than their belly but what. the. fuck.

Since being saved from financial oblivion by Roman Abramovich in 2003, Chelsea have spent an obscene amount of money tempting top players (and coaches) to West London on bumper salaries.

They won the Championship for only the second time in their history in 2005, exactly fifty years since the only previous time, and retained the title in 2006. It's no secret that Chelsea would not be where they are today without Abramovich's billions but it takes time to build, or rebuild a winning team.

I remember going to Old Trafford during the barren years of the 80's when Ron Atkinson was sacked as manager of Manchester United and replaced by Alex Ferguson. Three years after Ferguson took over, United looked no closer to winning the Championship than they had anytime since their last win in 1967, despite a second place finish that flattered to deceive in 1988.

During the 89-90 season, the crowd at Old Trafford were getting restless and started demanding that the manager be sacked. I'm not ashamed to admit I joined in on occasion. The team actually managed to win the FA Cup that season, the first trophy of the Ferguson era, and many still claim today that it is the only reason Ferguson kept his job. Another trophy followed the following season, this time the (now defunct) European Cup Winners Cup.

1992 saw another second place finish, but this time it was much closer than the 88 season. Leeds United won the Championship in 1992 spurred on by the signing of an unknown Frenchman who had an immediate effect on the team (more on him later).

United were showing progress, but were still lacking the holy grail of a league Championship. On November 26th 1992 the then Leeds United manager Howard Wilkinson contacted Manchester United to ask about the availability of defender Denis Irwin. Refusing their advance, manager Alex Ferguson responded with a question about their mercurial Frenchman. The deal was done and the rest is history.

Manchester United won their first league Championship for 26 years in 1993. They retained the title in 1994 and another 8 league Championships have arrived in the 16 years since.

I don't mind admitting I was wrong. All of this, and a lot more when you take into account the two European Champions League victories and many FA cup & League Cup wins have come under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson who was knighted after the historic treble of 1999.

The signing of Eric Cantona in November 1992 was the final piece of the jigsaw for the first Championship winning team but the faith held in Alex Ferguson has been repaid many times over as he has continuously built Championship winning team after Championship winning team. Not least the kids of 1996 including a certain David Beckham.

The big question is whether today Alex Ferguson would've been given almost four years in a job before winning his first trophy, or 6 years before clinching the league Championship.

The sacking of Phil Scolari is a sign of the times. A world cup winning manager with Brazil in 2002, deemed a failure because his team languish in fourth place with four months of the season remaining.

Chelsea fans (or Roman Abramovich) may argue that he wasn't the man to return them to their rightful place. I agree. Luiz Felipe Scolari was never the man to return Chelsea to their rightful place. A place they occupied in the early 90's. A place outside of the Premier League and outside of the English and European elite. He was far too good for a second rate team that won the lottery.

Monday, February 9, 2009

One hit wonder

I'm just listening to Chesney Hawkes.

If you're not familiar with our Chesney, he's pretty much the ultimate 80's one hit wonder. Where Rick Astley had at least two hits, Chesney's one hit was one of the biggest hits of that decade but for some reason he never managed to repeat it's success.

Maybe the fact that the song was called "The one and only" shows it was meant to be that way, although I'm sure he didn't intend it to be. Listening to it again, 20 years later it's still a great feel good song.

Maybe it reminds me of more innocent times and the good feeling is more to do with happy memories than a good melody but it certainly did the job of putting a smile on my face.

I'm not sure I was really a big fan of it when it was first released. I remember it being all over the TV and radio so it was probably one of those cases where the over exposure leads you to ignore it as much as possible, but then when you revisit it years later it holds a whole new appeal. See also Wet, Wet, Wet "Love is all around" and Bryan Adams "Everything I do" who both seemed to spend an entire year at number 1 in the UK charts in the early to mid 90's.

Maybe it's a sign of the times, or I'm just getting old but it's funny how I can remember songs from two decades ago and their exact chart placing, but these days I have no idea who is number 1, or even if the charts still exist!

When I was younger I was so into keeping up with the hits of the day that I even had my own chart known as "The TV & Radio Top 30".

The basic idea was that I would keep track of all songs I heard either on the TV or the radio and every Friday night at 9pm I would compile the weekly chart, even capturing the movement from previous weeks and keeping a record of each artists past hits and chart position. Thankfully I now have more interesting, and sociable, things to do on a Friday night!

I still listen to the radio occasionally but most of the time it will be talk radio, or more likely a podcast. I remember listening to BBC Radio 1 when I was younger and turning my back on it because there was too much talking. These days I listen to their excellent podcasts because all they contain is the talking between the songs.

If you're not familiar with BBC Radio, there are a number of stations all dedicated to a different genre. Radio 1 is generally the hits of the day. I would recommend the Chris Moyles show podcast, or the Scott Mills Daily. Radio 2 tends to be slightly older music from the past 20 years with features aimed at the 30-45 age range. The Jonathan Ross show is definitely worth a listen, as is the Chris Evans show with more obscure cultural features and interviews.

Radio 2 was also the home of the excellent Russell Brand show until recently, but unfortunately, the call of a glittering film career in Hollywood, not to mention a rather unfortunate reaction to a call of a different kind to the star of Fawlty Towers means that there will be no new podcasts from Russell Brand.

There are many BBC podcasts available at or itunes.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bacardi Rum Cake

We went to The Bahamas for our honeymoon last November.

While we were there we noticed that all of the tourist shops were stocked with Bacardi Rum Cake which seemed to be the islands specialty. We picked one up to try and last night we finally got round to giving it a go.

I've suggested opening it a couple of times but my Wife always seemed reluctant, mainly because she wasn't sure what it would be like.

As soon as I opened the tin, I noticed a strong aroma of rum. The cake itself was smaller than the tin suggested but big enough for 4 or 5 people, maybe not the 8 servings on the label, although it was very rich so may be a bit much for some tastes.

Being a good English boy, we tried the rum cake with custard. It certainly hit the spot! As I said, the cake itself is very rich so the custard did a good job of watering it down and I soon realised that maybe I didn't need such a big slice!

The Rum Cake comes in three different flavours, The Original Bacardi Rum Cake, Pina Colada Rum Cake and the Chocolate Rum Cake. We went for the Nassau Royale Chocolate Rum Cake. The flavour of the rum, mixed with the chocolate was excellent. The bottom of the cake had a much stronger rum flavour as it soaked through so more custard was required than a piece from the top of the cake.

If you're not familiar with custard, the one we usually have is made by Bird's. It's common in the UK but less so in the US, although we can pick it up from our local Kroger store.

You can buy the Rum Cake online at They deliver to the US but the minimum order seems to be two large (20 oz) cakes for $29.90.

If you ever find yourself in The Caribbean then I certainly recommend picking one up to try. It would also make a great gift for family or friends. They come in a smaller 4 oz size so they're small enough to fit in your case.

So the consensus was that we both loved the chocolate rum cake, although it's not something you would want to eat too often, but it was a nice souvenir of our honeymoon.