World weather.

Saturday 19th November, Madrid, Spain

It's almost noon and I'm not long out of bed. Maria is still snoring like a chainsaw. Yes, it's that time of year again folks... it's CHRISTMAS PARTY TIME! Everyone getting together to celebrate another twelve months with mucho food, wine and merriment. There's just two weeks left now until Maria and I embark for a Christmas down under and those two weeks are packed with Christmas parties, dinners and get-togethers. By the time December 3rd rolls around, I reckon we'll both be in need of a holiday!

After a number of frustrating delays and frantic late-night modifications, our Spanish cookbook, "RUNNING WITH THE BULLS" has finally met with the formatting specifications of our publisher in the US. It is on the printing presses at this moment, and your orders should be in the mail in the first few days of December, in plenty of time to meet my Christmas promise!


I guess most of you received my newsletter a couple of weeks ago, mentioning that Maria and I were off to Portugal. If you haven't been receiving my newsletters (usually once a month, but sometimes not that often) and you'd like to be kept up to date with what's new on The Savage Files, you can have yourself added to my mailing list by sending an email to

Anyway, Maria and I picked up our shiny blue Seat Altea after work on Tuesday of last week. We didn't get away till the next morning, due to my stubborn insistence that we stay until the manuscript for "Running With The Bulls" had finally uploaded to the publisher successfully. It's a big file, and takes four hours to upload, but I wanted to get it done so we could relax on our little mini vacation, confident in the knowledge that our Spanish cookbook was whirring across the printing presses. Of course, we returned from our trip to the news that the manuscript still had formatting errors *sigh* but nevertheless, ignorance is bliss, and we set off early Wednesday morning without a worry in the world.

We spent the first night in Maria's Mum's hometown in the province of Extremadura, just short of the Portugese border, catching up with some of Maria's relatives and visiting her 91 year old 'abuelo' (grandfather) in his old people's home. Then Thursday morning, we set off bright and early across the border to Lisbon. We took quite a few photos, so rather than make this journal page too 'heavy' with jpeg's, I'll continue the story here.

Remember I had mentioned a renovation that I was busy working on? Well, the good news is that it's finished... and didn't it come up a treat!! Here's a before and after shot for you, and there's more before and after photographs's of that job here. While I think of it, prospective clients are often interested to see photos of some of my renovating work, and until now all those photos have been scattered throughout this 2000 page website. But now, thanks to another sleepless night, I have gathered most of the interesting photos together on one page. here.

Got some interesting news from home today. My brother Terry was telling me that with the high rate of attacks on women in secluded parking lots, especially during evening hours, the Brisbane City Council has established a "Women Only" parking lot next to Brisbane City. Even the parking lot attendants are exclusively female so that a comfortable and safe environment is created for patrons. The Brisbane City Council released a photograph of their new 'world's-first' women only parking lot. Wanna see?

That reminds me of the "Women Driver's Olympics" that I featured on this page some time back. That little slide show generated so much controversy among my female readers (whom I affectionately refer to as 'the chicks') that I decided to put together another collection of photos that show just what can go wrong when you let a woman behind a steering wheel. Click here for a bit of a giggle at the expense of the fairer sex. Complaints, accusations of blatant sexism, and death threats can be sent to

While I was staying with my mate Glenn in Tennessee, I experienced a number of 'firsts'.... my first visit to 'Hooters', my first stock car racing, my first American football game, the first time I tasted the salty delicacy known as 'country ham', the first time (at least the first time since university) that I drank whisky, beer and champagne all in the same day before 5:00pm, the first time I was covered in bat shit..... But it was during my stay with Glenn and Shirley that I experienced my first trip to a drive-thru bank. I guess it makes sense; you're comfortable in the air conditioned cab of your big pickup truck, why would you want the inconvenience of finding a place to park, locking your car and so on? At this drive-thru bank there were two lanes that you coulkd choose; the first where you could be served by a real live bank teller through a slot in bulletproof glass, and the second, where you could reach out of your window and operate the ATM. The sign in the ATM lane was quite amusing, and I thought I'd share it with you here...


1. Drive up to the cash machine.
2. Put down your car window.
3. Insert card into machine and enter PIN.
4. Enter amount of cash required and withdraw.
5. Retrieve card, cash and receipt.
6. Put window up.
7. Drive off.


1. Drive up to cash machine.
2. Reverse and back up the required amount to align car window with the machine.
3. Set parking brake, put the window down.
4. Find handbag, remove all contents on to passenger seat to locate card.
5. Tell person on cell phone you will call them back and hang up.
6. Attempt to insert card into machine.
7. Open car door to allow easier access to machine due to its excessive distance from the car.
8. Insert card.
9. Reinsert card the right way.
10. Dig through handbag to find diary with your PIN written on the inside back page.
11. Enter PIN.
12. Press cancel and re-enter correct PIN.
13. Enter amount of cash required.
14. Check makeup in rear view mirror.
15. Retrieve cash and receipt.
16. Empty handbag again to locate wallet and place cash inside.
17. Write debit amount in check register and place receipt in back of checkbook.
18. Recheck makeup.
19. Drive forward 2 feet.
20. Reverse back to cash machine.
21. Retrieve card.
22. Re-empty hand bag, locate card holder, and place card into the slot provided.
23. Give dirty look to irate male driver waiting behind you.
24. Restart stalled engine and pull off.
25. Redial person on cell phone.
26. Drive for 2 to 3 miles.
27. Release Parking Brake.

I'll leave you with a few funny and interesting photos that I've received by email recently. To those of you who forward me your funnies, keep 'em coming!

Those of you with a yen for some comical Ingrish will enjoy this slide show