World weather.

World weather.

TUESDAY 10TH JANUARY 2006... BACK IN MADRID

That's right, folks. Our time in Australia is over, and we've returned to a cold, cloudy Madrid. is back at work, and I'm busy catching up with five hundred emails that have been mounting up in my inbox since early December. Our SPANISH COOKBOOKS have been received around the world by everyone but ourselves *why am I always the last* and it's time for me to start thinking about "what comes next?"

I hope you've been enjoying our travels over the last five weeks. Maria and I have loved every minute of it, and I want to thank everyone who helped us and contributed to making this such a great trip! If you haven't been following our travels by way of the online journal, YOU'LL FIND DOZENS OF NEW JOURNAL UPDATES AND HUNDREDS OF FANTASTIC PHOTOS FROM OUR TIME IN THE GREAT SOUTHERN LAND RIGHT HERE! You can even follow our travels through a different pair of eyes, as Maria has added her own addendum to each of my regular journal updates.

The big news on everybody's lips here in Spain at the moment is the new anti-smoking legislation that came into effect on the 1st of January. The laws seem a little unclear at the moment, or maybe it's just that noone really wants to understand them completely. But put simply (as I understand it) if you own a bar, nightclub, cafe or restaurant, you have to choose whether it will be a smoking venue or a non-smoking. If you choose to allow smoking, then no children must be permitted into your premises. For example, J and J's, my favourite second hand bookshop and cafe, decided initially to continue to allow smoking. They attached a sign to the door to signify this. But then the owners discovered that it would be illegal to ever bring their new baby into the shop, and reversed their decision, making their entire area non-smoking. Larger restaurants have the option to separate their premises into smoking and non-smoking sections, but the different sections must be closed off from each other.

I for one applaud the new move, as it seem to be the common sense way to protect everyone's rights. But some people are taking things a bit too far, as this short videclip shows.

While I've been away, my inbox has been filling with jokes, funny photos, slide shows and videoclips that have been sent to me from all around the world. There are way too many for me to share all of them with you (and there are some that I wouldn't be game to share!) but there are a handful that I just can't keep to myself. I've put them together as a slide show, and you can view it here.

THE ULTIMATE GIFT FOR THE MAN IN YOUR LIFE

sent to me by email just a few minutes ago:

PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbour's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.

14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

17. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

19. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.