Monthly Archives: April 2011

NCIS: LA – Rocket Man

‘Let’s do an Otto’. That must have been what they said and then proceeded to do. We just needed to see that first set to recognise the scientific test that was about to malfunction big time. And then they went on to have the same type of repeat bad thing happen, just as in NCIS Driven from season four. Mercifully they avoided the Germans.

Don't go in there!



Don't go in there!

Nell and Hetty

On the other hand they had an Englishman in there, looking thoroughly fishy in that way only the British can manage in an American show. Question is, would he be the bad guy or not?

Poor Eric has a shy bladder, which is one way of putting it. He has to work out in the field, leaving his safe chair and computer screen. At first I thought he and Nell were competing to get Hetty to send one of them, but then it seems Nell was actively pushing for Eric to go, rather like a benevolent sister. And he didn’t want to. I think.

Luckily his chair remained untouched and unswivelled until his return.

Deeks invented a new word, and I have to say that ‘frelted’ has a certain ring to it, as long as you’re not the one being frelted. But pretty good for a man who has a picture of dogs playing poker on his wall. The picture. Not the dogs.

Eric’s words in the outside world were awesome, cool and great. And Nell had to elaborate on her ‘uh oh’. Those Americans are so eloquent.

Apparently the rocket was rubbish though, according to my resident rocket expert.

Good episode, if you don’t count the ‘Otto’ factor.

(Photos © CBS)


It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. My first sushi. Well it was, if you don’t count stuff from the supermarket that someone carried home and which I didn’t like much.

It definitely wasn’t as bad as in my dream first thing this morning. I suppose it proves I was worrying as much about this sushi-eating business as I would about stuff like going to a new school or other traumatic event. It didn’t help that in my dream someone had built ugly redbrick tower blocks all over the main square in Halmstad.

Yes I know, that’s not got a lot to do with YO! Sushi at Piccadilly station in Manchester.

It was Dodo’s idea to eat sushi at Piccadilly before she caught her train back to Edinburgh, so Son asked Witch and Daughter (mine, not his, obviously) to come along. And it’s quite nice to eat with a view of TieRack on the station forecourt.

Luckily I didn’t have to perch on a barstool. The young people allowed me to sit on a more normal seat and my feet almost touched the floor. Almost. The food whizzed past on that track thingy and the waiter made fun of me for needing to eat with those childish style wooden tweezers, rather than with chopsticks. I did want to end up with some of the food inside me, rather than down my front and straight onto the floor.

Let’s say it was an experience. The noodles were OK, and the dessert was fine. Tofu was so-so and the dumplingy things not bad.

And I loved the coloured stripes on the plate edges, which made for some great colour combinations when stacked. When empty. After all, I’m someone who arranges things in my dishwasher according to colour.

The complete U.N.C.L.E.

We made life a misery for School Friend for years. Once I’d rediscovered the Man From U.N.C.L.E. after far too many years without, we needed to have as many episodes to watch as we possibly could. And with British television not showing any, it was down to a dependence on Swedish television again. For some reason they broadcast the series throughout the year and not just when we were there and could record on video. Most thoughtless of them.

So SF ended up recording more episodes than she could ever have dreamed was possible. But we were still a long way off complete. Episodes appeared on tapes in any old order. And there were the subtitles, of course. Offspring used to waste their sunny summer days in front of the box, saying to each other ‘just one more?’ and watching one more. Or two.

But I was glad we could share this. When I discovered it was on, late at night, one holiday, I stayed up to renew my close friendship with Ilya Kuryakin. (Napoleon Solo can just amble off into the sunset, or something.) Daughter, ever the insomniac, joined me, and fell in love with Ilya as fast as her witch-mother had done decades ago. We’ve got good taste in men.

It was another week, before Son worked out what we got up to in the middle of the night, but then he was hooked too. So we had years when Sweden and summer meant the Man From U.N.C.L.E. and we couldn’t go to bed on a Wednesday night.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

But we felt it would be awfully convenient to have U.N.C.L.E. on DVD, and the complete works would be better still. About four years ago Son discovered a nice box-set of all 100+ episodes and all sorts of extras, presented in a cute little silver suitcase. Price was OK as well. The only fly in the ointment was that someone seemed not to understand about flogging stuff worldwide and maximising their profits. It was limited, and available to addresses in the US only. Or North America, maybe.

When he gets going, Son can be tenacious, so he beavered away at a solution until box-sets were unearthed on eBay or similar, at a very good price. Shipping to anywhere. So we bought, and decided not to worry about from which particular lorry they had fallen off.

Now I see they are more easily available, so someone’s commercial instincts must have woken up. It might be more exclusive to allow only nice Americans to watch the DVDs, but more money from worldwide customers can’t be entirely wrong.

And we are forever grateful to School Friend’s video efforts.

More Whittaker news

Alex, Natalie and Guy Whittaker © Natalie Whittaker

Alex, Guy and Roger Whittaker © Natalie Whittaker

The March 2011 letter from Natalie Whittaker is available here now. They have another new grandchild, and there were a couple of German television appearances to celebrate Roger’s 75th birthday last month.

Other than that they are busy getting ready for the latest last tour in Germany in May.

The plans for moving to France are still on, albeit slightly delayed. But when did things ever go smoothly?

Roger Whittaker and grandchild © Natalie Whittaker

I’m guessing here, but I believe the small child in the photo with his granddad might be the baby born the week before we last saw Roger in Köln two years ago.

(All photos are © the Whittaker family and have been borrowed from the newsletter totally without asking.)

Who’s behind you?


It didn’t exactly look like Obama, so maybe it’s a fake president. But that teaser appetiser thing of the Doctor Who new season prequel is quite…

As Daughter said, it’s sort of back to ‘are you my mummy?’ standards. (I’ll just scream silently here for a few minutes.)

‘There are no monsters in the Oval Office.’ No. Of course there aren’t.