Friday, April 30, 2004

Final fourdom

Being a Brit (meaning: clueless about basketball), I'm not sure quite why there is such an interest in the Final Four being played in Tel Aviv (the final is tomorrow night). OK, there is an element of national pride involved, that I can understand, but the general hysteria that seemed prevalent around Tel Aviv yesterday afternoon, as queues of traffic crawled home early from work in order to make the game, seemed a little over the top. It almost seemed like the eve of a holiday, with businesses closing early and the traffic snarling...I had a 'business' meeting yesterday with a 'guru', who gave me some excellent ideas for my English school (watch this space), but could we find somewhere quiet to sit and have a beer and a chat? Could we 'eck. We ended up back in his office, cold ones in tow...

Now, if we were talking about the beautiful game, the one where hands are prohibited, then all this fuss would seem warranted. Could it be that Israelis are only interested in a sport where they actually do achieve something? I caught some of the previous day's football game between Israel and Moldova and was amazed at the empty stands, a complete contrast to yesterday and what I'm sure is to come on Saturday night. After 10 minutes of a terrible game, I understood why...

Wok boarding. Now this would provide a healthy alternative to final four-ing...

Meanwhile, we are putting our place up for rent this weekend, while I build a business plan...
< hands in head, fingers drumming on cheek > only problem now is location, location, location... < / hands in head, fingers drumming on cheek >. I'm sure the pool session accompanied with some yeasty-like substances in green bottles planned for later tonight will prove inspirational.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Poll results

OK, that's it, you've had your chance to vote and influence the world...results indicated that you thought 'Hutzpa' was the quintessential Israeli characteristic. Have to agree with the 37% of you that voted for second place: 'Blunt and to the point', with 31%. Way back in third, 'Warmth', with 11%. I personally thought that 'Hospitable' might push for second place, but there you go...should I mention that 'Honest' failed to pick up a single vote? No, I'll keep that one hush-hush.

The new poll, in keeping with the recent spate of holidays, gives you a chance to vote for your favourite holiday. I've thrown in a few non-Jewish holidays, as I know there are a few of you out there who miss those mince pies over Christmas, or those slices of turkey during Thanksgiving. Get those mice clicking...


If any of you out there have a few minutes to kill (while waiting for your boss to turn up for work, for example...), and you suddenly have a pang for 80's style arcade games, this is the place to go. Transported me right back to Eastbourne (otherwise known as the 'Suntrap of the South') Pier on Saturday mornings...

Wednesday, April 28, 2004


Cough. Splutter. As the skies above Israel slowly clear from the BBQ-induced pollution, the millions that swamped the parks, nature reserves and, yes, traffic islands, return to work. This includes all those 'male Israelis', those keepers of fire, fanners of flames...why is it that every Israeli guy thinks he can do a better job than the next? I gave up a long time ago trying to give any advice/help out, their years of training and ego completely eliminate the possibility.

And pardon me for pissing on the burning embers, but I dread to think of the 'balagan' (mess) that is awaiting all those cleaners/litter collectors. I know from personal experience (when working as a gardener, we had a contract with the local council to clean the parks after the various holidays - unbelievable...), that it ain't a fun job. I don't care what anybody says, the majority of Israelis do not know how to preserve the beautiful oases that surround them...

My dream of staking out a roundabout just for the hell of it (final and absolute assimilation...?) wasn't realised...maybe next year.

Today is English lessons day, climaxing with a Southern Comfort in Rosh Ha'ayin sometime around 10pm.

Monday, April 26, 2004


It's not exactly the day to celebrate, but over in North London, they are surely having a pint or two...there's still another 4 games to go and the title is Arsenal's. There's only one man for me this season (without sounding a little homo-esque), and that's Mr Thierry Henry. The greatest footballer in the world today.

Memorial Day

In another few minutes the siren will go off to signal Memorial Day, remembering Israel's fallen soldiers. It's quite a moving day, especially if you get to catch any TV documentaries on some of the fallen. Difficult to watch, but as Israel kind of shuts down for 24 hours, there's not much of an alternative, except for Sky News/CNN (all other channels are either suspended or show these documentaries).

The Memorial Day actually started last night, as is usually the custom in Israel, with a siren at 8pm. I was caught up in traffic, as everybody seemed to be desperate to get home before 8. Tel Aviv was a nightmare. I picked up mrs. anglosaxy and we waited at her office for half an hour. At 8.30 the difference was quite absurd, the streets were amazingly clear...

Sunday, April 25, 2004


Any of you using the Google Gmail service? As I'm using to host anglosaxy, I get a free preview version...I'm not sure how else it's currently available, but I recommend getting your hands on it if you can.

I was a little concerned about their privacy policy, as written about here, but I've signed up and it looks pretty darned good. One giga sir? That'll do nicely...The big advantage with signing up now is that I get a fairly good user name, and not

Dear < enter the name of your favourite agony aunt >,

Friday morning we decided to go and check out the rental situation in Tel Aviv (looks like the sexy Rosh Ha'ayin has hit the recycle bin for now...). It helps that mrs. anglosaxy's brother is in the real-estate bizzness, he has access to all the places to rent in Tel Aviv via a unique database he subscribes to. Don't tell anyone though, it's apparently hush-hush amongst the real-estate pros...God forbid they lose the commission they work so hard for. Anyway, there are a number of decent places in Tel Aviv, the problem is finding somewhere that can double as a small language school.

Actually, I think I know what I want to do with this school idea. I want to start small, but be very professional (I don't have the finances to start something big). I have some creative ideas for getting people interested in learning English (and no, it doesn't involve beer...) and I know from the feedback I've had so far that they would prove popular. I also realize that, until I get big enough to tackle Berlitz or Wall Street (oo-er, that might take a while!), it's all about location, location, location...There is one location that I currently have my eyes on which I feel is perfect. The only problem is it would involve renting out office space from mrs. anglosaxy's family and I'm not sure I want to go down that road. It would also mean changing our plans about renting a place, because we probably wouldn't need the extra space for a classroom any longer. I'm fairly flexible about it all, it's the other half...she's worried that I'm "running before I can walking" (her words, she has a lesson booked for tonight...). She has a point, but I'm not talking about renting 1000m of office space, I'm thinking of one classy room where I can sit up to 5 or 6 people in comfort, with all the basic school facilities, such as board, TV, PC/laptop. Not that adventurous surely? Or is it simply a woman's natural instinct for safety and security clashing with her male's desire for independence and fortune?

So, after running this through my head constantly over the weekend, in between steaks and kebabs on Saturday afternoon, I'm currently a little perplexed. If you have any good advice, please feel free to leave a comment.


Confused, Tel Aviv

P.S. Please don't let mrs. anglosaxy convince me that we should watch 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' again. It has now been officially classed as a 'girlie' movie.

Friday, April 23, 2004


St. George's Day today...funny thing is, St George wasn't actually English and he probably never even visited England...what the heck, any excuse for a beer or 3. And for those of you wondering, he lived and died (he was actually executed) in Palestine, when the Romans were laying down the law...

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Will you rub in some more of that tiger balm please...

Yesterday's 'party in the park' to celebrate the release of our latest software version ended up as a football match between 10-12 of us guys in the office (with an accompanying crowd of arab kids, obviously on some kind of school trip, cheering and jeering our every move). My body is paying the price today...

Before we left for the park, I was a little dumbstruck by my boss's reaction to my question: "Who's bringing the beers?". As she looked down her nose at me - as if she had trodden in something rather nasty and smelly - it slowly dawned on me that this was going to be one hell of a party. O and myself instantly moved into action - we decided to stop off at a local eaterie and have a quick beer before continuing on to the 'party'. The option to buy a few bottles for others was not taken up...while the complete lack of alcohol was probably the motivation for me taking part in my first kickabout for some years.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The return of...

As the world goes Vanunu crazy, my own favourite criminal is back in town. Yep, for those of you who remember him fondly, Mr C is back! For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, you can catch up on some classic tales of my smartest English student here and here...we have tentatively scheduled a lesson for next week, but I'm expecting a rain check as he eases back into his business 'empire'.

Lights in the distance

As a fine, upstanding (mmm...) member of the blogging community, I wanted to welcome L aboard. She is a good mate of mine, an excellent writer and maybe one to ruffle the feathers of a few of you leaning to the right...Her blog is at and will be worth keeping an eye on. She'll be adding a comments feature and other glorious features soon...
Go get 'em girl!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Chalk your cue

Last night we went to a place called 'Scores' in Tel Aviv (on the corner of Yehuda Levi and Allenby). Not bad at all, though I rarely fail to enjoy a night of shooting pool, downing beer and listening to live music...

The place is basically split into two sections, one of which houses around 20 decent pool tables, the other a bar/club where a smallish stage area holds a live band (last night it was live jazz, and pretty good it was too...). O joined myself and mrs. anglosaxy and we had a laugh. As per usual, the more inebriated I got, the flashier and more skillful I became, while O's form slid downhill fast after impressing us with a few cracking opening shots. I'm inclined to believe she lowered her level drastically after witnessing our first few shots...

Tomorrow my office has a picnic arranged to celebrate the release of our latest version. Oh joy. I really love these forced 'fun' sessions...

Monday, April 19, 2004

If you go down to the woods today...

Over the weekend, in between posting flyers around north Tel Aviv, we popped over to the forest next to Rosh Ha'ayin. Z is always delighted, of course, a willing participant. However, after coming across a f**king huge snake sunning itself on a rock, I'm not so sure he'll be so willing in the future. He usually finds something interesting to chase or sniff at, but this time I was sure his day had come. This snake was huge, maybe even 2 metres, dark grey in color, and pissed at Z for having the cheek to wake him from his snooze. After shouting at Z to get the hell away, he finally obeyed and the snake slithered back under a rock. It scared the crap out of me, mainly because of its size...I've since tried searching on the Web for a description but can only find details of vipers, which it definitely wasn't. Any ideas? It was probably a harmless grass snake but it was HUGE (and before you ask, this was pre-beer). As a fisherman once said, 'It was THIS big'.

Below are some pictures, no snake I'm the third picture you can just about see the buildings of Tel Aviv on the skyline.

Holocaust Day

One hour ago the sirens were sounded, reminding us that it is Holocaust Day here in Israel. Even as a non-Jew I find this quite an essential part of what 'is' Israel and what must never be forgotten...the wail of the siren always makes me reflect on some of the films and documentaries that are broadcast ('The Pianist' last night was very moving...). And nearly always, a little old lady I met a few years ago pops into my head. She was probably my first encounter with a Holocaust survivor and I was really moved by meeting her. She wasn't shy about showing me the number tattooed on her wrist but she didn't want to talk about her experiences...

The Israelis amongst you might be interested to know that the Holocaust is taught at schools in England, I actually studied Thomas Keneally's 'Schindler's List' for 'A' Level English (before the movie of course).

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Moving into second gear...

Over this last weekend I've been out and about in north Tel Aviv, posting my flyers on various notice boards. That's right, I'm going legit and publicly advertising my services as an English teacher (the only way I'm going to get out of hi-tech and reclaim my soul is if I make it happen). A big hug and kiss to mrs. anglosaxy, who designed the flyer, which you can see below. This is step 1 of my plan to take over the private English teaching industry in Israel, step 2 is, er, 'to be implemented'...

My only worry is that the flyer is too fancy and people will be scared into thinking the lessons will be astronomically expensive (they won't be for free but they won't be expensive). Any opinions out there? Maybe an extra line was needed: "Payment in alcohol possible."

Friday, April 16, 2004


My fifteen seconds of fame have arrived - I'm mentioned in this Ha'aretz article.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

More of the same...

Another stony-faced welcome this morning. I greeted the security guard who sits on reception (this company is too tight to have a proper receptionist) with a hearty 'Good morning' - all I got back was a blank stare. The charm that flows through this building really puts a skip in your step...

As a result of the reactions I get at this office, I've been researching how to be a bloke in today's world - thought I might be going wrong somewhere - and found the following tips and tricks. Not sure that some of them would work in Israel, but I'll give this one a go:
To avoid a faux pas at the DIY store, never ask for help. When approached, refuse. Then, three minutes later, ask for help, starting with the word "actually".... And no more continental-style kisses for friends...

Got a family do tonight, a Brit Mila (ouch!) for one of mrs. anglosaxy's new nephews. Should be a good excuse for a few beers.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Welcome back!

I forgot to mention the glorious welcome I got when I walked into the office yesterday. On taking my seat in the corridor, and after getting absolutely no recognition that I existed from other corridor lifers (O arrived later and gave me a hearty High-5), I was then reprimanded for borrowing a fellow corridor lifer's headset. These were the first words spoken to me, after 7 painful days 'How was the holiday?' or 'Hi the way...'. Nada. Straight down to business at this place. The only reason I borrowed the headset was because I was the only buggar to come in last Monday and during my meeting with the Indians I suddenly lost the use of my microphone. So I forgot to put the headset back, just tie me up and throw me overboard...

It's been a long time since I made an effort to be sociable at work - apart from with O - all the office politics bullshit is way too much for me. The above incident just reinforces my opinion that I should get the hell out and concentrate on the teaching...

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Dead Sea day trip

So good to be back in the office...thought I'd make the most of my time and update you on our daytrip.

Yesterday we drove down to the Dead Sea, it was well worth the effort (about 2.5 hours each way). I love the Dead Sea. It always reminds me of how amazing Israel is, especially the natural beauty and range of landscapes that you pass on your way from Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea; natural sand dunes, Beduin villages, camels out grazing... and then you descend down to some 400 metres below sea level amidst impressive hills and mountains. When you are cooped up in an office in Tel Aviv, you sure don't appreciate all that Israel has to offer...

There's nothing like floating in the Dead Sea itself, totally relaxing. You can really let go, relax your whole body and just let the water carry unbelievable experience. What always amazes me is the natural pull at your legs as you walk into the water - as you get deeper you actually have to make an effort to stay standing, otherwise your legs will be taken away from you. Just a word of warning: don't shave before entering the water and DON'T LET ANY WATER GET IN YOUR EYES - it stings like hell (I can verify that...)!

I didn't get a shot of me reading the newspaper, but mrs. anglosaxy went for the arty, lopsided shot of me floating...

Upon exiting the water, wait a few minutes as you soak in some rays. You'll soon be delighted to see yourself turn into a walking bag of salt as the salt encrusts all over your body. A little bit of vinegar and I swear mrs. anglosaxy would have started chomping away on my arm (she's rather too keen on salt and vinegar crisps...).

If you have a chance, take a drive around the coast, it is simply amazing. My picture hardly does it justice...

And then on the drive home, don't forget to take in some of the sites, such as this field of flowers near Kiryat Gat.

Ahh, the Dead Sea...we'll be back.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

"We're all going on a ..."

Yesterday was largely spent touring the Bet Shemesh area, in particular Park Britannia (well, where else...), which is around 10 minutes south of Bet Shemesh. Very nice area, and not too crowded. We figured it would be a lot less congested than the north, I guess we were right, though I'm not sure you can call our trek 'southerly'. We included Mitzpeh Missuah and a bedsheet and carpet bazaar at Kibbutz Tsora. The evening was spent scoffing ice-cream and drinking wine with Shlotim and Rino.

Today has been a garden day, I'm pooped...

Tomorrow is a Dead Sea day. I have to get the classic tourist pic floating in the sea, reading a newspaper!

Happy Easter, by the way!

Friday, April 09, 2004

Count 'em!

We spent much of the day painting a wall in the bedroom. Light green. Yep, we now have a hospital ward for a bedroom. As punishment for her choosing the color, I thought I'd share with you mrs. anglosaxy's jeans collection. This was discovered while clearing out one of the cupboards. There are 30 pairs of trousers in this pile. Think I'm harbouring the new Imelda Marcos of jeans. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Grammar God, of course...

Grammar God!
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Much ado about nothing

Been taking it easy the last day or so. Last night it was down Molly Blooms for some unkosher Kilkenny (beer, and all products derived from wheat are not 'officially' eaten/drunk through Pessach/Passover, they are referred to as hametz, though you can still find them in most places...). Met up with M - even managed to persuade mrs. anglosaxy to come along, and, shock, horror, I even managed to convince her of the joys of taking a taxi (so that she could enjoy a Bacardi Breezer or 2...).

I'm going to have to pop down to the Carmel Market later, we have a couple of friends round later tonight and the cupboards are bare...though I'm tempted to deliver my Matza Brie (Matza is the unleavened bread, very similar to crackers, that is eaten during Pessach/Passover), complete with matza soaked in orange juice. Mm-mmm! Different, but tasty!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004


OK, so I lied, it never got close to 60 people last night. I promised a head count, but in the end it was fairly difficult to do so, what with the open-door policy and the constant comings and goings of family members. I'd say it averaged around 30-35 at any one time, which was quite surprisingly low. Apparently a few family members were doing the seder at their in-laws, hence the low number (though a few did turn up later). Unfortunately, that meant no drinking partner, the cousin I expected to turn up was at his in-laws. But never fear! I can overcome these hiccups with barely a glance backwards...

I have to say I was quite proud of myself last night. In all the years I've been here, I've never read from the Haggadah, the traditional book which tells the story of Pessach/Passover. My Hebrew is reasonably good but I've always felt a little embarrassed to even try as the Hebrew is so ancient and different. This year there were a few Hebrew-English versions, so I decided to entertain everybody and read out my section in English. It was actually a laugh, but I'm sure the constant refills of wine had something to do with that. I usually feel a bit of an outsider during the reading of the Haggadah, but this time it felt good to join in, even that little bit more special as I was the only one reading in English...

Anyway, the balagan was a lot less than anticipated (only 3 or 4 kids!), while the food was as good as ever. Can't wait for next year (er, right...), though I expect normal service (=balagan!!) to be resumed.

Today has been a slow day: some recovering from the small hangover, taking Z down the beach for a run, reading Robert deNiro's biography, eating at momma anglosaxy's...later it's Champions League football with my boys up against Chelsea, then a trek around the house to change the clocks. Israel Summer Time happens tonight. Not a good deal for mrs. anglosaxy, as she has to work tomorrow...

Monday, April 05, 2004


Sitting in the office right now, completely empty...just finished the meeting with the Indians, very nice bunch...

Tonight it's the 'Seder' dinner, celebrating Pessach, or Passover. It is probably the most commonly observed holiday over here, even by otherwise non-observant Jews. I'm not too keen, mainly because I know there will be some 60 or so people at this thing, it's just one big mess...if anybody out there can beat 60 round one table, you have my every sympathy...Me, I have to find a cousin who likes to consume barrels of wine, no easy task (finding a cousin who can drink copiously...). I shall be doing a head count today, tomorrow I shall tell all...

Sunday, April 04, 2004


Yep, I'm pooped. With a little bit of raving mad thrown in as well. I've been working my butt off all day, it's now 9pm and I have now learnt that I have to come in tomorrow, the only poor sod who'll be trekking in...apparently, the translation expert in our company is not such an expert and I have to have a conference call with the Indian developers. They will be sussing out if they can perform the translation more efficiently, and, much more importantly, whether they can do it on the I have to brush up on my cricket knowledge because I know they are cricket-mad and that's about all they like talking about socially...

My boss is also having a laugh. After deciding the priorities for this release, she decided to release today the documents that we'd agreed were going to be released after Pessach/Easter. So, I've been feverishly working on various documents that are full of mistakes and missing info...just so they can make it into the release. Welcome to the world of the Israeli Product Manager: it doesn't matter if it's full of holes, just get it out there...

Saturday, April 03, 2004


It's 2.40am and we've just got back from a party in Tel Aviv (Ben Yehuda to be precise, though most of Tel Aviv could probably hear the music pumping out from the rooftop). One of those parties where the natives drink a couple of bottles of beer and they become instant idiots (let's face it, Israelis don't know how to drink). There were a couple of them that really needed a slapping tonight, especially the way they manhandled mrs. anglosaxy's cousin, who was also there (I really didn't feel good leaving her cousin there but she had her best mate with her, so...). Even after a few beers I felt the most sobre a long way.

Anyway, 'M' was also at the party. He always cracks me up, one of the funniest guys I've ever met. He has a good grasp of some of the rudest English words you've ever heard...that's what happens when you read Playboy for its articles, or so he tells me...we'll be meeting up in the middle of the week for a beer or two.

Off to bed...

Friday, April 02, 2004

There's a new poll in town

And the winner is...Jerusalem. The 'inspirational' poll carried on for a week or two longer than I anticipated, for a number of reasons, but there did appear to be a flurry of voting last week. That flurry gave Jerusalem the nod, just ahead of the Golan Heights. In third place it was Tel Aviv. Quite how Haifa came in with 7% I shall never know...obviously there are some American sailors reading this blog...

So that means a new poll. Get your mice clicking - it's a good one: "Which of the following characteristics is quintessentially Israeli?". I've tried to be fair with some good and bad points, while there are plenty more that didn't make the vote was the old classic 'Hutzpa'.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

The Darkness cometh for your daughters!

I've just had to splash myself with cold water: the Darkess have announced they are coming to Israel to play a one-off gig! Apparently inspired by Madonna's recent announcement that she intends to perform a couple of shows this summer in Tel Aviv, and in a bid to promote world peace, they have decided to follow in the footsteps of such great entertainers as Jason Alexander and Brad Pitt...

The one-off show, which is currently penciled in for the British Embassy car park sometime in mid-June (might get a bit cramped...), now depends on the tour schedule of their chosen Israeli support act, Dana International. Yalla Dana, don't let us down! As lead singer Justin Hawkins put it: " After seeing before and after pictures of Dana, we realised that the combination of our two acts could scare the Middle East into peace!"