Monday, 24 December 2012

My top ten Christmas facts from around the world

As we find ourselves immersed in yet another festive period I would like to share some of my recent research (and as such is beyond contestation ;-) regarding Christmas around the world.

Here are my top ten facts:

10. In the town of Ylikiiminki in Northern Finland a festival is held every year on Christmas Eve where the towns chickens are dressed as their last King, Nicholas II.

9. The indigenous people of the island of Pulau Taam have no word for Christmas, yet have 14 words for underarm deodorant.

8. Until 1974 Santa Claus was depicted in the Belgian media to have a large, benign anal tumour, it was evident in Coca-cola adverts in the Benelux countries until 1982.

7. On Christmas Day in 1993 fourteen Elvis impersonators in Las Vegas, Nevada, committed suicide by consuming a lethal dose of gelatine based gravy granules. All incidents were officially unrelated.

6. Elves were invented by Cornish child genius Colin Barnwell. He was delighted when his creatures were included in the Christmas tradition but died whilst in the middle of a vicious legal battle with the Tolkien estate after he insisted that all Elves in The Lord of The Rings were re-written to reflect his happy, rosy cheeked creations.

5. During the second world war Santa relocated from Norway to Barnsley where he was well received by the local prostitutes and miners.

4. There have been nine reindeer related incidents in Marseilles this Christmas alone.

3. Dean Martin, the famous rat pack crooner, applied unsuccessfully to act as PA to Santa's musical director. Norman Wisdom got the job.

2. In certain areas of Southern Chile they speak of the evil dwarf, Nivvi Pikki, who steals into children's rooms on the 31st December to steal their favourite presents and sodomise their pets.

1. This is my favourite. Since Bear Grylls started his TV show there have been no fewer that 8 million reports of parachuting ninja Santa attacks in Madrid.

Thank you, I'll be here all week. Merry Christmas.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Merry Sausage Christmas...almost!!!

As the festive season draws closer to the main event, that being Boxing Day when it's all over, thank Christ, the sausage trail rumbles on.

After the pretty excellent article written by Ben Fishwick for the Portsmouth News a national news agency picked the story and ran with it, the story making its way onto page three of Metro, Ok it was under the 'Weird' section but a good story never the less and excellent promotion for a book I have yet to finish.

I have received a few emails and messages through facebook asking about the sequel and in particular which sausages and places I aim to visit on my next journey. That is a difficult question to even contemplate, thinking about answering let alone coming up with a wish list and from that a schedule. Any sausagey travels will have to wait until 2014 when I have polished the book and completed my Everest hike with Will but I would really like to combine some sausage trail antics with a charity banger rally or two (or similar trip). If time does not allow this ideal combination of my travel passions then I suppose wandering off with an Easterly bent would provide ample opportunity for sausages and adventures.

Christmas will soon be upon us and with it the chance to roast some sausages with a great big bird, marvellous.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The sausage trail, the highlights

It was really nice to see a local journalist who can, not only write, but also get the facts right. Fair respect to Ben Fishwick who put together a nice two-page spread for the Portsmouth News. The piece today, which I would have loved to link in this blog, included some good photos and a great layout. When I say good photos I do of course mean that the photos included were those I sent to the paper and  not the cheesy, populist snaps (although very professionally taken) by the photographer supplied by the newspaper.

This morning I was called by a national news-agency who asked a few questions. These questions made me think, and reconsider my original responses to similar questions I asked myself during the period of my travels.

There were two main points that caused me to pause and think. The first regarded the highlights of my year long sojourn. This was not so easy as every place I visited had many high points, so much so that all I can say, now, in this blog is that the following were of great emotional and literal interest:

Up Helly Aa, Barbara and the band, and the Vikings
Kobasicijada, the sausage club taking me to their hearts
Hamburg, the BBQ with Matts friends and family
River Cottage, the loud Aussie
The Chilli festival in Dorset, hot shit
France, the Segur-le-chateau farmers market
Hungary, crazy Hungarians and pigs
Vegas, competition cooking

All memorable and massive, I could write on each for hours, indeed I intent to.

The second question, from the journalist, was even more pointed:

What did you not do?

I was lost for words, well momentarily anyway. My predictable response was that I wished to visit the places I had identified but failed to reach. To which they asked where, I answered and the journalist suggested a sequel. Marvellous.

Monday, 10 December 2012

The sausage trail rolls on

It's been over a month since I returned from the final stage of my sausagey sojourn and I have yet to finish the required three chapters before the end of December. Not to worry the material exists and I have more than enough additional stuff to amuse and astound.

Recently, over the past couple of weeks, the local newspapers have taken an interest, sufficient interest to warrant a double page spread in tomorrow's 'Portsmouth news'. That in itself would have fantastic promotion for the book, thanks to Ben for the opportunity, but tonight I received a call from a news agency. It appears that I may have a chance of making it into the national newspapers, would she even better for the book.

It's great that 'The sausage trail' is beginning to capture the imagination of the press, I can only hope that the readers can see the potential in an overweight, middle aged sausage fanatic wobbling around the world seeking the brightest and best bangers (more bang for your buck perhaps), publishers take note.