Saturday, 21 September 2013

Scarlett Strallen Danced Her Heart Out in A Chorus Line

"A Chorus Line" hit Broadway in the early 70's and I saw it with my Dad in Drury Lane in 1978.  I have loved it ever since and seen the Michael Douglas film dozens of times.

It returned to the London stage in 2013 and I had to be there.  

Cassie is the star who dances "Music and the Mirror" during her audition.  She was played by the extremely talented Scarlett Strallen seen here.  

I hope the London Palladium cast of "A Chorus Line" bring out a DVD.  Please, pretty please.

The producers are currently finalising European touring plans for the production that will give audiences in Germany, Holland, France and beyond the chance to see the acclaimed London production, prior to a UK tour beginning in Autumn 2014.  I have set up a "Google alerts" so that I do not miss any dates.

Like for tour infor

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Apply For a Free EHIC Card to Cover Health Costs in EU and EEA Countries

If applying online for an EHIC card (old E111) for free health treatment in the EU, be careful that you use the official NHS site. I nearly paid £19.99 then smelt a rat. Use the official site for a free form and allow ten working days.

Official NHS site for EHIC form:

Of course, travel insurance is still recommended but there is always a hefty excess to pay and minor treatment will be covered for free by the EHIC form.  You pay for it in your social security payments so I recommend applying for a card for all members of your family who are travelling in the 27 EU countries  plus all European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland and Norway. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Good Joke for the Exams Period

This joke is topical in the exams period of the year:

At Sydney University, there were four students taking Organic Chemistry. They did so well on all the quizzes, midterms and labs, etc., that each had an "A" so far for the semester. These four friends were so confident with the finals approaching that the weekend before, they decided to go down to Canberra and party with some friends there.

They had a great time. However, after all the hard partying, they slept all day Sunday and didn't make it back to Sydney until early Monday morning - the morning of their final exam! Rather than taking the final then, they decided to find their professor after the exam and explain to him why they missed it.

They explained that they had gone to Canberra to do some research in the ANU (Australian National University) archives for the weekend with the plan to come back in time to study, but, unfortunately, they had a flat tire on the way back, didn't have a spare, and couldn't get help for a long time. As a result, they only just arrived now!

The professor thought it over and then agreed they could make up their final exam the following day. The guys were elated and relieved. They studied hard that night - all night - and went in the next day at the time the professor had told them.

He placed them in separate rooms and handed each of them a test booklet, (which was out of 100 points) and told them to begin. The first problem was worth five points. It was something simple about free radical formation. Cool, they all thought in their separate rooms, "this is going to be easy."

Each finished the problem and then turned the page. Question 2 (for 95 points): Which tire?

13 Year Old Girl Has Higher IQ than Stephen Hawking

Thirteen year old Neha Ramu in Surbiton, Surrey, England 162 in a Mensa IQ test for people under 18, the highest possible mark, putting her in the top one perfect of the UK's brightest people. higher than that of Stephen Hawking.  A genius is someone with an IQ of 140 or more and this girl scored higher than Professor Stephen Hawking (160).

Neha came to the UK from Bangalore in India when she was seven, but it was only in recent years that her parents started to realise the true level of her intelligence.

Click here to see the top ten smartest people in the world....before Neha was tested that is!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

How To Shortcut Annoying Call Centre Menu Choices

We all suffer the call centre menu choices: press 1 for xx, presss 2 for xxx only to reach another menu and another.  It is enough to drive us to distraction and so difficult for anyone who does not speak the language fluently.  Sometimes we can go through several menus only to reach a message saying they are now closed.

Nigel Clarke had enough.  “There’s got to be a way to do something about this”,’ he recalls. ‘Then I realised that, if you know the correct numbers to dial, you can usually bypass menu systems without having to listen to various options.’

Nigel is an IT man on a mission.  His long journey of discovery ended when he launched www., a website which lists ‘shortcuts’ that allow users to wade straight through the intricate phone menus of 130 sprawling corporations — including the likes of Asda and Argos — to reach an actual person, in the department they want, in a matter of seconds.

Handy: Nigel's quick list to help you bypass those annoying automated messages

Has cyberspace ever, in its short history, provided a more useful service?

Surely not.  Nigel’s site shows, for example, that Lloyds TSB customers wanting to make an accidental damage claim on their home insurance can reach an operator in seconds by dialling 0800 056 3040 and then entering the numbers 1-3-2-1-1-5-5. Each digit has to be punched in as the recorded voice starts to announce the options for that particular menu.  This can save the calling customer at least three minutes.

Good call: Nigel painstakingly listed the bypass numbers for 130 organisations, including Asda and Argos.  Using other ‘shortcuts’ for such organisations as HM Revenue & Customs — which Nigel has identified as the proud owner of Britain’s worst call centre — can save users of the site as much as eight minutes per call.

Nigel says he isn’t opposed to IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems on principle; merely those that have been poorly designed or deliberately created to be time-consuming and frustrating to navigate.

Indeed, he suspects that many companies create systems with a large number of ‘menu options’ and several ‘levels’ of recorded menus to dissuade customers from complaining, or returning faulty goods.

‘When you want to buy something, there’s usually a freephone number that allows you to get straight through to an operator. But once they have taken your money, you often have to start paying to contact them — so the companies have a vested interest in making the calls as long as possible.’

It seems the little man can beat the system after all.

Early signs are indeed positive. Since its formal launch last week,, which is funded by advertising, has been visited by roughly 250,000 users.

Nigel is meanwhile searching for venture capital to help him improve the site’s technical capabilities.

 He would also like users to help ‘map’ the IVR systems of Britain’s local councils, which he says have ‘some of the worst’ call centres in the country.

‘It would be great to eventually employ a few people,’ he says. ‘Call centres are everywhere, so if this takes off, who knows where it could end up?’

And, no matter how large his internet venture grows, does he hereby promise never to install an automated phone system?

 ‘Absolutely,’ he says. ‘That’s  a promise.’

(Antonia - Personally, I find pressing the option for 'Sales' connects me quickly.) 

Monday, 29 April 2013

Three Stunning Photos from Dubai

Three great photos from Dubai

Burj Al Arab during a lightning storm

Police patrol cars in Dubai: Lamborghini on the left and Ferrari on the right.

The world's most exotic Tennis Court, located on the top of Dubai's 7 star hotel Burj Al Arab

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Just for Pun

I borrowed this from a friend:

  • When you get a bladder infection urine trouble.
  • Broken pencils are pointless.
  • I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.
  • What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
  • England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
  • I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
  • I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.
  • All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. The police have nothing to go on.
  • I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
  • Haunted French pancakes give me the crêpes.
  • Velcro – what a rip off!
  • A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy.
  • Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!
  • The earthquake in Washington obviously was the government’s fault.
  • Be kind to your dentist. He has fillings, too.

Source: Kim Bolsover - Image Consultant Training Courses

Monday, 10 September 2012

London Paralympics 2012 Were An Education

Here is an outstanding article reflecting on the Paralympics:

The Paralympics were an amazing and enlightening experience that we were privileged to host in London. We have lived it, loved it and I hope broadened our minds. I know
 I have.

This was not just a sports event but one of psychology, personal development and education which caught and held our attention and admiration across generations.

Only being able to buy tickets for the Paralympics seemed like a consolation option when the last available Olympics tickets were too expensive but when we reached the Olympic Park pn Monday 3/9, we shared the buzz. Inside the Olympics Stadium we witnessed what people can do with the right attitude: 
  1. Taking off a prosthetic leg to hop over the high jump? The Pole won the Bronze whilst the Gold medal went to a Fijian who hopped over 1.54m, the first time Fiji had ever won a medal. 
  2. GB's Mickey Bushell winning Gold and setting a new Paralympic record in the T53 100m wheelchair final. The deafening crowd roaring him on then cheering as he received his medal and we sang "God Save the Queen". 
  3. The Polish woman who set a 6m world record in the long jump.
  4. The Argentinian who ran 5000m with a sighted guide? He came in 2 laps and 4 minutes behind the winners but we cheered him for his determination. He can say proudly, "I ran in a Paralympics final." 

Will we ever forget a swimmer with no arms and only one leg winning Gold? How do you even do that? Blind people playing 5-a-side football? Wheelchairs becoming dodgem cars and tipping over in wheelchair rugby?

Every Paralympian athlete deserves our respect for using their "dis-ability" as a reason to be able to do something extraordinary. They are indeed THE SUPERHUMANS shown in Channel 4's poster.

Antonia Harrison challenges people to Change their Minds to Save Their Life using powerful hypnosis and NLP.   "We are boxed in by the boundary conditions of our thinking." - Einstein

A Sweet Lesson on Patience

A sweet lesson on patience seen on Facebook today with  1,253,851 likes and 248,039 shares.  Please take a few minutes to read.

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds.  She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired.Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.  They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Il Divo Release Come What May in Spanish

Wonderful Il Divo have just released a new album "Wicked Game"

I am a fan of Baz Luhrmann's film "Moulin Rouge" and on their new album, pop-opera Il Divo do a cover of "Come What May" in Spanish called "Te Amare". I am in Heaven!

Download the MP3 of Come What May (Te Amare)

Here are the lyrics:

Lyrics | Il Divo lyrics - Come What May lyrics

On this page you can download a "Come What May" ringtone and link to lyrics of Il Divo songs.

Buy Il Divo - Wicked Game

To date, IL DIVO have sold more than 25 million albums and have the only classical crossover album, Ancora, to ever enter the Billboard Top 200 at #1.

See Il Divo on tour at Il


Friday, 16 December 2011

I Had The Strangest Dream Whilst Taking a Catnap

I had the strangest dream whilst taking a catnap during working hours.

Next to my bed was a carpeted seating area with lots of cushions. Outside of this was a small flat roof which was overflowing with rainwater although it seemed to me there had been no rain recently and it was pleasantly sunny. The rainwater did not go down the drainpipe presumably because it was blocked by leaves and I had not cleared the blockage. Instead the rainwater was coming into my bedroom via a ventilation brick. I saw the water which was a couple of inches deep and was moving the cushions away when I heard a sound in the adjacent store room.

I found there a workman and asked him what he thought he was doing and how had he got into my house? He replied, “Well, I’m working with Mark.” Mark was a carpenter who specialized in marquetry. I had hired him to do some decorative woodwork in my living room. At that point, Mark walked sheepishly into my bedroom, apologized that he had not told me that the other man would be there and he had used my key rather than first check whether I was at home.

Suddenly, I heard my son laughing and playing in the garden and remembered that he had a friend with him. I looked out of the window and saw them running out of the garden down a side road. I called out to him but he did not hear. I left the workmen and ran after my son and his friend.

At the bottom of the road were ordinary houses but today the area had been transformed into an outdoors convention of The Salvation Army, the people who wear uniforms and play religious music and preach the Gospel. They can often be seen in town centres around Christmas when people give them money for the poor. In fact, I saw a TV commercial for them yesterday hoping to raise money for families who could not afford to buy any Christmas presents, let alone the ones their children really wanted. Meanwhile my children will receive an excess of LEGO and other toys which they want.

There were some stands set up providing drinks and food for these people but not the loud, garish burgers and chips type of stalls. They were serving plain warm English food like stew and bowls of soup.

This chain of events is symbolic to me. First, I was sleeping during working hours. On the one hand I know I should not have been doing this although I accept that a short sleep is better than a couple of coffees when tired. I know tonight that I have two hours of driving and an evening of networking so want to be refreshed.

I thought it had been sunny and had not noticed the rain which was now overflowing. There is a financial crisis on which I tend to think of affecting other people, not me, due to my mindset. At the same time I am dipping into capital rather than doing the necessary work to create income through different sources.

I was spending money on decorative work rather than ensuring the foundations were strong ie allowing the flooding to happen by not clearing the drainpipes. Beauty is a high value of mine and I like to look at beautiful things. Sometimes I fail to see the reality because I am so focused on what I want to see.

My son and his friend were alone yet I was responsible for them both. Why was I sleeping instead of supervising them? I am often doing my things but not being there for my children, especially my younger son, as the older one receives more attention through help with his school studies.

The Salvation Army were gently, in a non-intrusive way, reminding me of my soul, my spiritual side.

All very vivid and clearly lots of messages.

©Antonia Harrison 2011 from Personal Development in the 21st Century

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Don't Cry Because It's Over

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.” - Dr Seuss