Sun at last!

It's been pouring with rain for days and days here.  One day last week we had the equivalent of two months worth of rain in 24 hours.  Water started to come into Triple P's study around the window frame and we were worried for our early Penthouse collection which is stored in file boxes near the window.  Fortunately everything seems OK as we reacted quickly with plastic sheet and Tupperware boxes to catch the drips.  Good job we were in!

 The annoyance, of course, is that we have been told we are in drought and aren't allowed to use hosepipes and yet everywhere has been awash.  The water companies say that the rain won't make any difference.  Of course we might have enough water if they didn't sell a lot of our water to overseas customers. 

Anyway, today we wake up to brilliant sunshine and nice pictures of Cheryl Cole looking slutty in the newspaper.  Hooray!
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Happy Birthday Darcey Bussell!

Darcey never looked comfortable vamping it up

Triple P likes a good ballerina and few were as good as the gorgeous Darcey Bussell.  She was electrifying when we saw her at Cobent garden a few years ago.   Darcey is 43 today and was announced as the new judge on the next series of Strictly Come Dancing two days ago.

In her element

Triple P thinks Darcey is a wonderful dancer but is slightly worried about her appearing as a judge on Strictly.  She needs to realise that any technical comments have to play second fiddle to an appropriately theatrical performance to not be eclipsed by Craig, Len and Bruno; none of whom are exactly quiet personalities.  Arlene Philips held her own as she was as over the top as the rest of them and Darcey will need to do something special to avoid looking dull.  Personally, much as we love Darcey, we think Karen Hardy would have been a better choice.

Hope she proves us wrong!  Happy Birthday Darcey!
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Titanic 100th Anniversary: 15th April

Well, it's been pretty hard to avoid the fact that today is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.  Agent Triple P has always been fascinated by ocean liners, has even been on a couple and seen some of the others at sea: Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, United States, France etc.  It was always those that did the Atlantic route that interested us but liners were becoming cruise ships even when Triple P was small.  We also went on board the Canberra, the Orsova and the Chusan as he had an aunt who worked for P&O.

The Mauretania bar in Bristol gives a little feeling of what being on one of the great pre-World War 1 liners must have felt like

When his sister was living in Bristol we used to go to a wine bar which had been fitted out with mahogany paneling, plaster ceilings and light fittings from the RMS Mauretania: the only one of the big four funneled liners to be built in England (Newcastle).  It is still there and we would like to go there again shortly as the bar has just been re-fitted.  Originally these relics from the Mauretania were bought by the Bristol wine merchant Ronald Avery in 1935 for the building that was the Avery's headquarters (which is now the Java bar).

The Lloyd's loss book entry for Titanic

Our interest in the Titanic was cemented when we met a lady, Eva Hart, who had been on board as a child when it struck the iceberg on April 14th 1912.  We enjoyed the Clive Cussler book Raise the Titanic.  We even liked the film (well, the soundtrack by John Barry was good). We saw the original loss book at Lloyd's of London recording the sinking.  We were fascinated when Robert Ballard discovered the wreck in 1985.  Latterly, we knew a marine photographer, Keith Beken, whose father, Frank, had taken a famous shot of the Titanic in the Solent.  So when James Cameron's film came out we should have been delighted.

Frank Beken's famous photograph of Titanic in the Solent

Except we are not.  Suddenly there were millions more people interested in the ship and their knowledge of what happened that freezing night was based on some very poor history in the film.  Triple P has read a lot of books about Titanic and found bits of the film most annoying.  We still watch parts of Titanic but really only the early sequences before the iceberg hits.  We like to see the ship at full steam accompanied by James Horner's evocative music.  Partly, we suppose, it is also something to do with having an interest in something that not many others know about.  When it becomes popular one's own interest feels somewhat devalued. The same thing happens when an interest in, say, a particular musician, becomes less keen when they become big stars. 

So we have not bought any of the many new Titanic books that have been released.  We will not be going to see James Cameron's 3D version of the films and we will not be buying James Horner's extended version of the soundtrack.  

We do own a small piece of coal retrieved from the debris field between the two parts of the ship and we will look at it tonight and drink a toast to  the 1,514 people who never had a chance to make any money out of the disaster.
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Calendar Girl March 2012: Cameron Diaz

Cameron in her calendar picture

Something of a change from the stream of non-entities that usually feature in the FHM calendar: an actual star!  Diaz was born in San Diego in 1972 and her surname comes from her grandfather who was Spanish.   Her exotic looks saw her discovered, at the age of sixteen, by a photographer at a Hollywood party.  Within a week she was signed by the Elite Modelling Agency.  

Ra! Ra!  A teenage Cameron in High School

She attended Long Beach Polytechnic High and was a member of the "Polyettes" dance squad who performed at school football games.

After leaving school she traveled the world as a model; working in Paris, Japan, Australia, Mexico and Morocco. She did commercial work for the likes of Coca-Cola, Nivea, LA Gear, Levi's and Calvin Klein. 

These splendid black and white swimming pool shots come from her time as a model.  Since becoming famous she has kept herself rather more covered up.

Her big break came when, having no acting experience whatsoever other than high school drama class, she auditioned, at the suggestion of an Elite agent, for the lead female role in the film The Mask (1994).

Treating it as something of a joke she got called back twelve times by the producers who eventually cast her. She then had to take acting lessons.  The shot of her in a red dress (and helped considerably by a Frederick's of Hollywood padded bra) became one of the great female entrances in Hollywood history.

We have to confess that other than The Mask (which we didn't enjoy) and the Charlie's Angels films (which we did) we haven't seen Cameron in a film as she doesn't appear in the sort of films we like.

Never mind she has made a major name for herself and was only the third actress to be paid $20 million for a film (for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)).

Like many Hollywood actresses Cameron has had surgery on her nose, but unlike most, hers was justified as it was for medical reasons; having had a surfing accident.

So, we like Cameron as a concept (apparently her favourite word is "sex") although  we have to say we much prefer her with dark hair.  She does, however, triumphantly pass the Agent Triple P "does she look good in vest?" test.

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Bathscapades 1: Oxford 1

The original rationale behind this blog was to feature our globe-trotting adventures around the world and our interaction with glamourous women from many lands.  However, it soon became clear that some of the women we were interacting with weren't too impressed in finding out about the others so this particular direction largely disappeared (there are still a few posts like this in the early year or so of the blog if you can be bothered to look).  Now, however, a random discovery of some letters from long ago has got me thinking about resurrecting this initial idea.

Recently, for example, Agent Triple P has been thinking about girls in baths.  There are a number of reasons for this: a concatenation of events, as Thomas Hardy would have said, have led us to decide to start a series of random recollections of girls in baths or,  to be more precise, we have been thinking of young ladies who we have shared baths with over the years.  

Firstly, we were recently back at our mother's house picking our way carefully around the loft.  It doesn't have floorboards, so you have to leap from beam to beam to ensure that you don't go through the ceiling, as Triple P's father did, memorably, on one occasion. After moving a fold up bed and a pile of old suitcases (when they have stickers on them which say RMS Berengaria you know they are old) we found a couple of tea chests in a corner which we hadn't reached for years.  You never see tea chests any more but when Triple P was small, before plastic crates had been invented, everything was stored in tea chests. 

Anyway in one of these tea chest we found an old writing box that contained all the  letters we had received from young ladies whilst at university.  In those pre-internet days people wrote a lot more letters and Triple P's young ladies at the time seem to have had a particular penchant for expressing themselves in writing.  We had quite forgotten that we still had these.

Also inside the tea chest were all our old photographs from the same period, which took us back over thirty years.   Sadly, we won't be able to post many of these but they serve as good memory joggers, coupled with the letters.

Our second source of inspiration was a folder we found on our computer which contained, for some reason that we can't quite remember, a lot of pictures of hotel bathrooms we have taken over the years.  Some of these will, no doubt, feature in future posts.   

Thirdly, we were sorting out our art books and was looking at one of our volumes on Degas, who produced some splendid renderings of bathing women.  Critically for this post, most of them were redheads as was our very first bathmate.

Triple P had applied to attend Oxford University and having been fairly stumped by the entrance examination, to the extent that we wrote an essay on the barbarian ethic of Conan and gave it up as a bad job, we were somewhat surprised to be invited up for interview.   Arriving at our chosen college, much to our horror, we found literally dozens and dozens of candidates all chasing around 10 places for our particular subject.  The weather was horrible; it poured with rain solidly for the three days the process took.  We were all stuffed into the rooms of existing students all day to await the call for interview.  These students, who seemed to  do nothing but constantly smoke, drink beer and listen to terrible heavy metal were starting to get on Triple P's nerves.  Another candidate there, a girl with long red hair and rather unfortunate but studious-looking blue framed spectacles seemed as uncomfortable as Triple P and we naturally gravitated towards each other. Or, rather, as we realised in retrospect, she gravitated towards Triple P.  Anyway, we chatted away in various corners until it was time to leave.  We did not exchange contact details and, we confess, we did not think about her again after that (she was from Birmingham, which might have well as been the Moon).

Ten months later, having had a year off, we returned to college, having been, amazingly, offered a place and who should we run into within two minutes of arriving than the redhead.  Now sans spectacles (she had started wearing contact lenses) she was much more attractive than we remembered.  She seemed inordinately pleased to see Triple P and as soon as our mother and sister had departed she bounced (she was very bouncy) around to our rooms to accompany us to dinner.  Given we had never lived away from home and the whole place seemed not just strange but positively bizarre we were very glad to have a little (5'2") companion for the first few days.

How long it took for us to move from new friends to lovers Triple P cannot remember (it was over thirty years ago) but was certainly less than a week.  It could even have been only a few days.  Triple P had two rooms, a living room and a bedroom, both of which were long and narrow and overlooked the High (street).  The living room had a gas fire but the bedroom was unheated which was not much fun given it was early October.  The bedroom also featured a mysterious wooden box at the foot of the bed which we found out contained a knotted rope.  Yes,  this high tech device was our fire escape, in the event that the eighteenth century building caught fire.  The bed itself was quite large, at three foot six across, given that some of the beds in the more modern rooms were only two foot six.  It was like (it probably was) an old hospital bed with iron bars at the head and foot.

In college you were accommodated in "staircases" (rooms all staircase) and Triple P's was all male.  Many of the girls, including Triple P's new friend, C, were in a couple of modern early seventies blocks.  These had the narrower beds, presumably to discourage hanky panky, but did have a wash basin which Triple P's room lacked.  Washing was a trial.  Triple P's rooms were on the third floor (fourth floor for Americans) but the only bathroom was in the basement, four flights of stairs below.  This also housed the only WCs in the staircase.  Needless to say this basement was also unheated.  To describe it as grim is an understatement.

Amazingly, in  one of the boxes of photographs from the loft, we found this picture of the basement staircase bathroom. At the front left there were two WCs, then next to those two rooms with baths.  Beyond that on the left were a couple of showers with wash basins on the right.  The defining feature of this area of the college was that it was absolutely freezing.  Taking a shower in the morning was done as fast as humanly possible before you froze to death.

Up until this point C and Triple P's manoeuvres had always taken place on the floor of our bedroom in front of the gas fire.  At this stage C had started to dispense with all her clothing during our enthusiastic snogging sessions, with Triple P being utterly delighted with her beautifully shaped champagne coupe breasts and bright orange pubic hair.  Triple P had always retained his trousers however as, we suppose, we didn't want to scare her off.  We really think it was much less than a week after we started college.  Anyway, one evening after dinner in Hall (which was often quite disgusting) C boldly announced "I want to dick you".  We confess our mind went blank as to what she was suggesting until she started unzipping our jeans.  Anyway, to cut a brief experience even shorter she emerged from the process somewhat...spattered.   It was at this point she suggested a bath together.  This, we thought, sounded like a quite excellent idea.

The sign up to Triple P's rooms on our college staircase

She donned Triple P's green dressing gown, whilst we put on our pyjamas (pretty much the last time we wore them), and we furtively started to descend the staircase (which creaked alarmingly) armed with some of Triple P's slightly dodgy Italian soap; which was, nevertheless, better than the Crimean War period carbolic recipe provided by the college.  Much giggling ensued as we dodged people moving about on other floors until we reached the basement.  It seemed to be even colder than ever and C, who had put her contact lenses to bed for the night, had her glasses on, which immediately steamed up, rendering her even more visually impaired than usual.   The bath took an age to fill and the amount of steam pouring out made the place look like the engine room of the Titanic.  Eventually we both climbed into the bath but whilst the water was nice and hot the air was so cold that we had to try to get under the surface of the water as much as possible.  It was a big bath but not that big.  After soaping her perky bust briefly we gave up and both disappeared back to our room and the welcome warmth of the gas fire.  C curled up and fell asleep in front of the fire like a cat (she had many catlike tendencies - claws included) whilst Triple P recalled the events of the evening with some delight.

The far corner of the quad holds the door to the staircase with the splendid bathroom

C's staircase only had showers and whilst we did share this once or twice it was considered bad form by the other girls to invite your boyfriend into them.  In search of a more conducive location for bathtime fun we started hearing rumours of a bathroom on another staircase.  It had a huge bath, we heard and heating.  Having located this semi-mythical oasis and discovering that (comparatively at least) it was as deluxe as a bathroom at the Ritz, C disappeared off to Selfridge's department store for some appropriate bath foam.  Unfortunately, it was very popular so our first few attempts to sneak in there were foiled.  There was much sneaking about because C was determined that no-one should know what our relationship was, although pretty much everyone else in college guessed fairly quickly.  At one point we had to share tutorials and C would  flutter her eyelashes at Triple P (not that you could see them, her being a redhead - until she had them tinted) and try to put us off when we were trying to read our essays.

Eventually, late one night, we found the bathroom deserted and sneaked in.  This was a much more satisfactory experience in every way.  It was warm, the bath was larger, we had bubbles.  Better still our self-control was much improved and so the sensual part of the experience could be teased out for much longer.  We both left several hours later, with somewhat wrinkled fingertips, but warm and very clean.  This enjoyable experience was repeated regularly but not that often, as finding a vacant slot remained an issue.

So this, then was our first experience of bathtime fun, something we have actively pursued ever since.  Another bathscapade in due course.

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Calendar Plane of the Month, April: Vickers Valiant

After the Second World War and before the development of accurate inter-continental ballistic missiles the RAF needed a long range nuclear capable bomber.  Three were commissioned from major aircraft manufacturers: the famous Avro Vulcan, the Handley-Page Victor and the first introduced into service, the Vickers Valiant.  It first flew in 1951, entering RAF service in 1955 just in time for its first and only operational sorties, against Egyptian airfields in the Suez crisis of 1956.  It was withdrawn from service as early as 1965, its airframe suffering from metal fatigue and unable to continue with its new roles of low-level attack, refuelling and reconnaissance missions.

This is not a model we built when were young, for the simple reason that this kit was only introduced by Airfix last year so, we don't have an old box to compare it against.  105 examples were built but only one complete one survives, at the RAF museum in Cosford (see below).

This is a hulkingly attractive cold war relic and Agent Triple P is rather tempted to buy the Airfix model even though we haven't built one for years!
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Ola Jordan in Boux Avenue Lingerie shoot

Former Strictly Come Dancing's tiny terpsichorean totty, Ola Jordan, has done her second shoot for Dragon's Den's Theo Paphitis Boux Avenue lingerie company.

Sadly kicked off the BBC show, due to the unpleasant nature of her husband, the understandably smug James, it is good to see Ola bouncing back as the "face" of the lingerie line.

Ola reckons she would be a good choice to replace the gorgeous but vacuous Alesha Dixon on the show's judging panel, now she has gone to Britain's Got Talent for a rumoured £350,000, but, realistically she has no chance.  Going up against the X-Factor again will mean the BBC will want someone with a bit more wattage - Kara Tointon has been frequently mentioned, as has Darcey Bussell. 

Last month's pictures were more romantic

Last month's shoot was softly romantic in style but the pictures released today are pure bubblegum, with the emphasis on the bubble.

It's nice to see that Ola hasn't disappeared and we hope she will continue to pose in tiny outfits for some time to come.  Full marks to Mr Paphitis, who lives not far from Agent Triple P.  Indeed we have seen him driving locally in his car several times.

Paphitis has been involved with lingerie before as he bought the UK and European franchise for Canadian lingerie firm La Senza a few years ago, rapidly expanding the brand's footprint in the UK before selling his share for £100 million in 2006.   
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Figleaves Girls cause a very small rumpus

The London Underground is much enlivened at present by this splendid poster for the Figleaves online lingerie store.  However, just three weeks ago the Advertising Standards Authority had to adjudicate complaints about the previous poster which decorated Tube stations around Christmas time.

This picture of a buxom young lady in stockings and killer stilettos had three people complaining that they found the advert offensive and two people thought the poster was unsuitable to display in places where children might see them.  Fortunately, CBS, who placed the posters, had already got clearance that they were within the advert Code, provided that they were not displayed within 100 metres of a school.  Fortunately, the ASA noted that the posters were to advertise lingerie and that it was quite reasonable for them to feature a model in lingerie.  The ASA ruled that the posters were not likely to cause widespread offence.

We should think not!  What sort of person would complain about such images?  Even more shocking is that the advertising code has a rule about certain images not being shown within 100 metres of a school.  Do schoolchildren not have mothers who wear lingerie?  Will seeing women in lingerie damage their delicate sensibilities?  This is insane and seems to be part of the pernicious drive in the UK for anything that could be taken as vaguely sexual to be banned on the basis of its perceived effect on children.  If children habitually see people in underwear they will just take it as normal (the same applies to naked bodies) as they know no different.  If people tell them that seeing people in underwear or without clothes is "rude", "dirty" or bad then they will believe that.  Advertisements featuring topless women are common in Europe, both in posters on the street and on TV commercials. Are the children in these (many of them Catholic) countries more traumatised than ours?  Of course not.  We are afraid that these moves are largely driven by notions of appeasement to those from minority (and alien) religious groups.

It is the same political correctness that has caused the governing body of beach volleyball to authorise long shorts and tee shirts for this summer's Olympics (much to the disappointment of the dozens of MPs who signed up for priority tickets, heh, heh!).

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Another splendid Olympic specimen: Jenna Randall

More British Olympic gorgeousness on display this week with captain of the Great Britain synchronised swimming team Jenna Randall being announced as the "face" of Braun hair removal products for women, accompanied by this stylish photo shoot.

23 year old Jenna who is from Ascot has so far won three silver medals in the Commonwealth Games but was the subject of some controversy in 2010 for posing as the centrefold in Swimming Times in a glamourous fashion model style shot rather than the traditional swimming action shot.

Jenna in the 2012 Nichole de Carle calendar

Last year Jenna was one of a number of female athletes appearing in a charity calendar  put together by lingerie firm Nichole de Carle.  Synchronised swimming looks rather silly (it's the nose plugs!) and there is the usual issue of having something with such a large subjective judging element in it in the Olympics but there is no doubt about the athleticism the women have to have to compete at the top level.

However well she does in the Olympics we predict Miss Randall will go far!
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