"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese

Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.

A Farthingsworth of Tall Tales from Blighty's Fameless Blog
Newsflash from New York (no, not that one!) |  Are the British better drivers? |  The Story of the Telephone Kiosk |  Drinking Nelson's Blood |  Screaming Jelly Babies |  Flying to the UK is very dangerous! |  Brits to drive on the right |  Who hung the monkey? |  Upper class virgins |  Double, double trouble |  What a Lovely Morning for a War

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Elton John's Home Again

More news from the local grapevine is pouring in concerning yesterday's story about whether Sir Elton John owns a home in the Caledon Hills near Toronto.

Traffic in the store and on Blighty's website has increased dramatically since the Toronto Star broke the news about Sir Elton's possible local home yesterday. People have been crowding into the store to share their tidbits of information on the subject.

Caledon is a small rural town in southern Ontario. The nearest local shopping area is in the adjacent town of Orangeville, a few short kilometers from Sir Elton's sprawling mansion on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. This is a close knit community and people talk.

Here is what Blighty's Blog has learned

A smokescreen cover story was released to members of the local private golf club that the home in question is actually owned by a reclusive billionaire. The name of the recluse was disclosed to Blighty's Blog golf reporter Andrew Oldcourse, but further investigation of the named individual has failed to turn up any information about the man or the source of his money.

Key Evidence Revealed
During early construction a local resident ignored signs posted on the property that read: "No trespassing, by order of an English knight who plays the piano and likes his privacy!". Stealthily penetrating the very structure of the building he found a large pool with elaborate fountains and something else that is a very important piece of evidence.

Sir Elton John is a "Petrolhead"

Our local, intrepid amateur spy, Jim Bond, discovered a feature of the house that inextricably links Sir Elton - a known "petrolhead" (car enthusiast) - with the building. The feature is a rotating garage with a capacity for 30 cars. Sir Elton owns a large collection of expensive cars.

"The Client" is Coming!
Construction work continues on the house. The building itself is substantially complete as could be seen in the picture published by the Toronto Star yesterday. Some local tradesmen are still working at the property. One of Blighty's customers told Blighty's Blog this morning that one contractor's craftsmen were told to expedite completion of their efforts last week because "the client" was coming to town. Sir Elton John performed at the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto just a fews days ago.

The Registered Homeowner is ...

If I were a multi-millionaire performer who wanted a private hideaway nestled in an exclusive neighborhood, safe from the prying eyes of local serfs, I would probably register ownership through a foreign numbered corporation with nominee directors.

Sir Elton had other thoughts apparently. And this tidbit is, thus far, unsubstantiated rumour. Sir Elton had ownership of the house registered in the name of his partner's (David Furnish) parents. That should be fairly easy for somebody connected with the real estate industry to check out.

Meanwhile, Down in the Valley
At the foot of the hill, below Sir Elton's new house, lies a scenic road twisting and turning alongside the Credit River. Blighty's Blog has hired the services of a resident of that road to keep watch over activities at the top of the hill. So, Sir Elton, while you and David are kicking back with a glass of wine on your deck some evening this week, the strange reflection you see at the bottom of the hill will be the setting sun glinting off the binoculars held by Blighty's Blog's observer-in-action Ms Soon C. Hoos-Thair.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Elton John at Home in Canada

Does Sir Elton John own a home in Caledon, near Toronto, or is this just an urban myth? I was quoted in an article in the Toronto Star newspaper today affirming strong local belief that Sir Elton is one of our neighbours.

One thing is sure, a huge mansion is nearing completion alongside Highway 10 at the top of the escarpment just south of Caledon Village, about 80km north-west of Toronto. The house is at the end of a long driveway with a security guard booth at the entrance.

A lot of prominent and wealthy Canadians live nearby. The Eaton family (formerly of the iconic Canadian retail store chain) live only a kilometer or so from Sir Elton's new home. John Roth, former head of Nortel, built a mansion nearby. The Armstrong family - prominent racehorse owners and builders of Ontario's massive highway 401 own large properties in the area.

Take a drive through the lanes around the Devil's Pulpit area west of highway 10 along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment and you will find many prominent homes with electronic security at the gates. This is the neighborhood where Canada's wealthy elite kick off their shoes.

I was first made aware that this home belonged to Sir Elton by a local Canada Post manager. If anybody should know who lives there it is surely the post office. When Sir Elton performed in Sudbury a few months ago there was a lot of activity around the home that his partner, Canadian David Furnish, denies owning.

Sir Elton John's principal residence is in Old Windsor, England. But, he is known to own other homes in Venice, Atlanta and Nice. So why such secrecy surrounding a possible home in Canada? And if Sir Elton doesn't own the property in Caledon, who does?

Blighty's Blog investigative reporter Hugh Dunnit has uncovered evidence that Sir Elton is not, in fact, the owner of the home. The property is believed to be registered in the name of a Mr Reginald Dwight.

A nod's as good as a wink to a blind horse, as they say in jolly old England.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The British Bobby Helmet

I was strolling through a small Ontario town last weekend. About half way down the street I tapped my wife on the shoulder and said: "hold on a minute, I just want to pop into one of these stores and pick up an authentic South Shields Police helmet".

I am sure it must be the sort of thing that most people do on a sunny spring holiday afternoon in Canada.

So I turned around and walked into a nearby store and, sure enough, they still had just one South Shields Police helmet left on their shelves. I pulled out my wallet, paid the shopkeeper and took home my prize.

"Lucky me" I thought. If had wanted a North Shields Police helmet I would have been out of luck today.

For anybody who is not familiar with the geography of north-east England, I should point out that North Shields and South Shields lie on opposite shores at the mouth of the River Tyne.

My choice was South Shields because one of my favourite customers is a lady from that town who now lives in Orangeville, Ontario. After many long years living in Canada she still speaks with a strong Geordie accent. She was absolutely thrilled when I showed her the police helmet from her home town.

So You Think You Know British Bobby Helmets?

I thought I could recognize a British police helmet without any trouble. It has a distinctive shape, a shiny badge at the front and, you know, a "thing" on top. I did some quick research on my acquisition and found out that there is a lot more to the British police helmet than I had thought.

If you would like to know more there is an excellent, highly informative FAQ on the subject on the constabulary.com website. Visiting that site I learned that there are at least three main styles of British police helmet. The principal distinguishing feature seems to be what type of "thing" adorns the top of the helmet.

My helmet is a home office standard type and will be on display at the store from tomorrow. No, you can't try it on.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Hard Times of Old England

Conversations I have had with family over 'ome lately reveal that England is suffering much more badly from the global recession than Canada. So when I listened to a favourite folk song over the weekend, I was so moved by the lyrics that I thought I would share them with Blighty's Blog readers.

The song was written by the folk-rock band Steeleye Span and is called "The Hard Times of Old England". I hope you enjoy the lyrics as much as I do:

Come all brother tradesmen that travel the land
Oh pray come and tell me where the trade is all gone
Long time have I travelled and I cannot find none

And sing oh the hard times of old England
in old England very hard times

Provisions you buy at the shop it is true
But if you've no money there's none there for you
So what's a poor man and his family to do

And sing oh the hard times of old England
in old England very hard times

You must go to the shop and you'll ask for a job
They'll answer you there with a shake and a nod
And that's enough to make a man turn out a rob

And sing oh the hard times of old England
in old England very hard times

You will see the poor tradesman a walking the street
From morning 'till night for employment to seek
And scarce have they got any shoes on their feet

And sing oh the hard times of old England
in old England very hard times

Our soldiers and sailors have just come from war
Been fighting for Queen and country this year
Come home to be starved better stayed where they were

And sing oh the hard times of old England
in old England very hard times

And now to conclude and to finish my song
Let us hope that these hard times they will not last long
I hope soon to have occasion to alter my song, and sing

Oh the good times of old England
in old England jolly good times!