World weather.

World weather.

TUESDAY 17TH JANUARY 2006... MADRID, SPAIN

Brief update:

* The recipe books have arrived finally. And they look terrific! Congratulations to Maria and myself for a job well done.

* In the last two days, I have received three new challenges!

SUNDAY 15th JANUARY 2006 . . . MADRID, SPAIN

Yep, it's cold in Madrid. That's because it's winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. Weird, huh? So, while my friends and family in Australia swelter in record high summer temperatures, I thought it might be timely to share with you this collection of seasonal Calvin and Hobbes cartoons.

I'm settling back into everyday life in Madrid. We had lunch with Maria's parents yesterday, and had friends over for dinner last night. The night before, we joined a dozen other ex-pats for dinner and laughs at a local noodle restaurant. My days have been spent mostly catching up with emails, an dwokring on my website. It would be great to find some regular work, but for the moment, I've had to be content with the ocasional odd job around town; a broken lock to be fixed here, a troublesome shower to be repaired there. I've put in a quote to install a couple of sets of metal shelving in a local restaurant, and am hoping to hear back from them soon. And next month, I may be making a return to Casa del Sangria in the south of the country. I don't really like being away from Madrid (and Maria) but our trip to Australia, even though very economical (our total accommodation costs for the five weeks were AUS$168) has left my Spanish bank account empty, and my Australian visa card close to its credit limit *again* so I have to go where the work is.

Our Spanish cookbooks have yet to make us a profit, which was never really the intention anyway, considering how few of them we had printed. It was a project which started life as a simple photocopied collection of our favourite recipes, stapled together -a gift for family and friends back home- but then it blew into a bound 78 page Cookbook, containing 38 of our favourite recipes from tapas dishes and cold summer soups, to hearty main meals, desserts and cocktails. It's illustrated with all my best photographs from the last eighteen months in Madrid, and around Spain. Although readers all over the world have received their orders, Maria and I are yet to lay our eyes on the finished product. But from all reports, it's a little beauty!

Maria got a letter from my cheeky little niece recently. Can you guess what was in it? The photo below, which the little imp took of me while I was working on their house in the south of France last summer. I'm waiting to think how I can get my revenge!



I'm sad to say that I have failed another CHALLENGE. Those of you who are new to The Savage Files might not be aware of the challenges that readers have been sending me on since I started this project almost three years ago. There have been some doozies, but this latest challenge, while apparently simple and straightforward, was thwarted by no less than George W Bush himself. To read about my failed attempt to complete the Sangsom Thail rum challenge, click here.

To post your own challenge, please use The Savage Files public messageboard.

Some months ago, I posted a series of quite amusing dialogues between airline staff. Well, I've come into possession of another collection of funny transcripts, and I reckon you'll get a laugh out of them as well...

The following are accounts of actual exchanges between airline pilots and control towers around the world. Remember that the conversations are heard by all pilots on that frequency in that area.

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Tower:"Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!"

Delta 351:"Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"

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"TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 Degrees."

"Centre, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?"

"Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"

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From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue:

"I'm f...ing bored!

Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!"

Unknown aircraft: "I said I was f...ing bored, not f...ing stupid!"

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O'Hare Approach Control to a 747: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, Eastbound.

"United 329: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this...
I've got the little Fokker in sight."

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A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight.
While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, "What was your last known position?"

Student: "When I was number one for takeoff."

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A DC-10 had come in a little hot and thus had an exceedingly long roll out after touchingdown.

San Jose Tower Noted:"American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able.
If you are not able, take the Guadeloupe exit offHighway101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport."

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There's a story about the military pilot calling for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running "a bit peaked."
Air Traffic Control told the fighter jock that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down.
"Ah," the fighter pilot remarked, "The dreaded seven-engine approach."

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Taxiing down the tarmac, a DC-10 abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate. After an hour-long wait, it finally took off.

A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, "What, exactly, was the problem?"

"The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine" explained the flight attendant."It took us a while to find a new pilot."

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A Pan Am 727 flight waiting for start clearance in Munich overheard the following:

Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"

Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English."

Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"

Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent):
"Because you lost the bloody war."

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Tower: "Eastern 702,cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7"

Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."

Tower: "Continental 635,cleared for takeoff behind Eastern702, contact Departure on frequency 124.7.Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?"

Continental 635: "Continental 635,cleared for take off, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern... we've already notified our caterers."

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One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee.

Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, "What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?"

The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with a real zinger: "I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for another one."

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The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one's gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them.

So it was with some amusement that we (a PanAm 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.

Speedbird 206: "Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway."

Ground: "Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven."

The PA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.

Ground: "Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?"

Speedbird 206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."

Ground (with quite arrogant impatience):"Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"

Speedbird 206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark, and I didn't land."

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While taxiing at London's Gatwick Airport, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727. An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Aircrew, screaming "US Air 2771, where the hell are you going?! I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!"

Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: "God! Now you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour, and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?"

"Yes, ma'am," the humbled crew responded.

Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high.

Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking:
"Wasn't I married to you once?"

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