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Friday, 30 April 2010


I have just blinked and it is Friday. How did that happen? I must try blinking more often.

It happened, of course, because the week has been very busy. I spent a couple of days and one night in London, as I have already told you, and had some train issues on the way home, something that is frustrating beyond belief, but something I think I will have to get used to. The final leg was spent sharing a taxi with three other fellow travellers to get home. I remember reading the definition of how you complete the Luge is "Lie flat, don't die" and you need a bit of that to get through a week like this.

So Friday it is, and this Friday sees me with a half day off to go, yes you've guessed it, 'vannin'. I shall be dragging the big white box down to Lyme Regis to stay at a campsite by the sea. It is also a site where our friends, let's call them Brad and Angelina, are also staying, in a static caravan owned by Brad's mum. When it comes to big, white and ugly theirs knock ours in to a cocked hat.

And in best squirrel tradition, I just had to Google that expression, because in black and white, it does look strange. The definition taken from several sites seems to settle on something like this:

"The game of Cocked Hat was similar to ninepins except that only three pins were set up, in triangular formation. It took its name from the three-cornered hat with the brim turned up (i.e. cocked) worn in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The expression implies a comparison between something in disarray after a defeat and the way in which pins are sent flying in a game of Cocked Hat."

So there you go.

We are very much looking forward to being away in the 'van, to spending some time by the sea with our very good friends. We are not, however, sure we like the weather men (and women) very much. They keep insisting it is going to rain over the long weekend. What's that all about? I for one shall do what I always do in such situations, and ignore the reports, simply believing that it will "probably be all right where we are." I shall report back as to how this highly scientific experiment goes.

I have just caught a news item about a sixty-seven year old man from the US who accidentally got his foot caught between the accelerator and brake, and managed to reverse fast in to has parking space, punching a hole in the wall behind the space. Oh, and he was seven floors up in a multi-storey car park. No people were hurt, but a couple of cars have had their pride and bonnets dented by falling rubble.

I hope your long weekend is enjoyable, and your imagination and weather-altering powers are as good as mine.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

What do you use your floppy for?

There is still a use for your floppy thing

I really do have my finger on the pulse of something.

The bright lights

I was personally not a great fan of Terry Wogan's breakfast show, but I am very aware that a lot of people were, and I have it on good authority that a subset of his followers like to call themselves TOGs, which is either Terry's old Gits or Terry's old girls, depending on what dangly bit you do or don't have.

I am wondering whether I should make up something for the followers of Scobi Wan Kenobi. Having given it almost no thought at all, I have come up with SWKers. I think it has a rather cheery sound to it, and can see both my followers getting t-shirts printed forthwith saying "I am a SWKer".

If you have been wondering where I have been for a couple of days (yes, both of you) then I can tell you that I have been up to the capital of our country, the Big Smoke, up in Town, namely Londinium. I can confirm a couple of things:

- the streets are not paved with gold
- there are a lot of people up there
- I decided to walk from station to office and from office to hotel, so can confirm that I really did take myself by the hand and led myself through the streets of London.

I am transitioning, a fine word and one that does not even begin to describe the difficulties found therein, to a new account. If you have ever watched You've Been Framed, and based on polls carried out by Worrie, they have defined my demographic as "the sort of people who are likely to watch You've Been Framed", so I am guessing you probably have, then you may remember one of the key themes that are repeated QUITE A LOT, is the theme where the person, usually a bit older and a bit un-nimble and more than a bit overweight, is stepping off a jetty and on to a small boat, and as they have one foot on each, the boat begins to move away from the jetty. As any physicist will tell you, action and reaction are equal and opposite, and boy there is some action in a 22 stone person stepping on to a boat, and the finale is a rather wet person. Oh how we laugh.
Anyhow, ... squirrel ... that is what it is like when you are "transitioning". It can be quite an emotional tug of war with your old account still wants a piece of you, and your new account is so happy to have finally got a body, want you at least 100%. More often, it is just a pain in the bum that is a lot less fun than ending up in the drink as you try to step on to a boat.

London is an interesting place. There are people everywhere, from my small poll sample, there is no time of day after 11am when someone isn't in a pub or bar having a drink, and they always have a suit on. Don't they have work to do?

I think it is fair to say that I do enjoy a visit to London, but I am not a natural city boy. I don't know whether I am actually chewing on a bit of straw, but I do feel a bit out of sorts with all the bustle. Our office is pretty flash, lots of glass and marble, but once you are inside there are seats and desks and I am staring at a partition wall, so I really could be anywhere.

Nevertheless, my new account is full of interesting problems and I am relishing the challenge of something new. I just hope I can be as effective as my managers are hoping, and I make a success of things.

I stayed up for the night, so met up with a very old friend from college. Since we like to give pseudonyms for people, let's call him Taff, a name that, to my best knowledge, he has never been called. We have not seen each other for a couple of years, but we just slipped back in to a comfortable and very enjoyable evening of drink, food and chat, catching up on what we had both been up to since we last met, which did give us a vast tableau of topics to discuss.

I am working at home today, hoping that the garage can fix my car by tonight so that I have it for our planned 'vannin' trip down to Lyme Regis.

Monday, 26 April 2010

3.5" FDD RIP

For those old enough to remember, weep as a small part of our technical heritage is consigned to the history books. For those who consider me rather sad for being nothing more than a bit older than them, I have no comment to make.

Sony to stop selling floppy disks

It's all Polls to me

Rather brief post from me today. I opened the curtains and sensed a very big day on the horizon, and I have not been proved wrong.

Favourite snippet from the radio today can on Radio 4 and the mighty John Humphries (although I notice he is not so hot and muck-spreading and is giving up his Welsh farm). During an item on the validity and accuracy of polls, I was surprised to hear the MD of a polling company telling us how good they are, and the neutral Polling Correspondent from the BBC taking a more balanced line. It turns out that they can kind of work out the margin of error based on wizzo maths. They can also prove that, in general, and in a normal year, the polls are accurate to within one percentage point or so. Except in an exceptional year. Which may well be the type of year we are having now.

Anyhow, they were discussing whether polls influenced voters, and mentioned that in some countries they ban polls in the final run up to an election. "Are people influenced by polls?" asked John. "In a recent poll, 56% of people said they were not influenced by polls." answered the MD. I often say, to hilarity all round, that I do not believe in astrology because us Librans are very sceptical.

I was also introduced, or more likely brought up to speed, with a new phrase "Cleggxtasy" as in ectasy for Clegg. Or something. Whatever next. Or maybe just wotevah.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Elections, leaders and debates - a Bluffer's Guide

As anyone who is anyone will know, I was in the 'van last Thursday and so only caught the leader debate assessments after the event via the relentless news coverage. And that coverage seemed to think that Clegg "owned the stage", to borrow from those cheeky X-Factor folks.

I was therefore very interested to see the second debate last night. We don't have any of that new-fangled Sky stuff down in Scobi Mansions, so we had to make do with the time-delayed BBC News 24 coverage. Once or twice we did hear a collective groan from various houses in the street, so knew that in about half an hour something of note was going to happen. Other than that, the delay had little effect.

I feel duty bound, therefore, to provide my input on the debate. I did sense that the "old parties", as Clegg kept referring to his fellow leaders, definitely seemed to have learnt something from the first debate, and each of them were much more even-handed in their distribution of beatings (and I will resist any dodgy references to fagging at Eton) and so that made for a bit more of a knockabout event.

There were a couple of interesting points from my perspective. The headlines from that morning's papers about Clegg barely featured. The compere did mention it once, and Clegg dismissed in a couple of seconds and moved on to what he wanted to say. None of "the old parties" brought it up, so I guess my comments yesterday were obviously read by them both, and they both agreed there was no mileage in it.

It was pretty difficult to find any great differences between their policies. Of course there are differences, but they do seem to be a drop whereas the big problems are an ocean.

Overall, the polls seem to make it a fairly close run thing between the three. Clegg may have got a couple of percentage points over the other two, but nothing to get too excited about. Having said that, in my opinion, the fact that he did not crumble means that he is still in the race.

So, where does that leave us? Those who are died-in-the-wool of any of the three colours will stay that colour, those who are floaters may well be swayed by personality, since they may well perceive there are no great policy differences, and those who just don't care may be slightly interested by a real three-horse race, but on the day of voting will probably choose This Morning over a visit to their local polling booth.

Have a good day one and all. Gotta get a hot cross bun and apple juice for maggot 2, and carry on with addressing my ever growing Inbox.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Its gramah innit

I must just thank my good friend, colleague and fellow blogger Golfy for his useful advice on the correct use of just about everything.

To be honest, most of it went over my head, but I smiled sweetly, nodded my head at what I thought was the correct moment, and am pretty sure I got away with it. I have made a mental note to allot some time to reading much less of what Golfy writes. And I mean that a lot.

Here's a joke for Golfy. I am sure he will love it.

A Texan professor and an Oxford professor are chilling at a conference bar. The Texan professor, bored, looks to the Oxford professor and strikes up a conversation.
"So there partner, where y'all from?"
Oxford professor replies, pushing his glasses to his nose: "Well, in reply to your query, I hail from Oxford. In addition, where I come from, we never end our sentences in a preposition."
The Texan professor blinks once, shrugs his shoulders and drawls, "My apologies! What I mean to say is 'where y'all from, a$$hole?'"

(I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of partly obscuring the obscenity, and hope that this has not lessened, or is it reduced, your pleasure)

As another day dawns....

... we find the world, and the many cogs and wheels contained thereon, has continued to turn, and with it the political news is continuing to churn. Did you see what I did there, that thing that is not quite rhyming poetry, but an ending that sounds the same. Clever that. No idea what it is called of course, so not that clever.


As was predicted, the dirt-diggers have been busy. On the day that we have our second "Leaders Debate"*, and I for one raised one eyebrow** when I saw the news:

- front page of The Telegraph says "Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem donors and payments into his private account"
- The Sun - Wobble Democrat
- Daily Mail (who else) - Clegg Nazi slur.

It does seem that success really does attract all sorts of ne'er do wells, reprobates and other undesirables, bringing with them their "interesting" views on the world.

I imagine that, sometime between now and the election, someone will go through Nick Clegg's bins. I can only guess the headlines for that:

- The Sun - Eggy Cleggy always ready (found an egg box and a box of Ready Brek)

- The Daily Mail - Clegg is a Nazi Spy (they found a shredded bank statement)

- The Independent - Nothing Interesting in Clegg Bin.

Oh well, it is all part of the game, and I must say that I am very much looking forward to seeing what happens this evening at the next leader debate (that's the way to do it, keep leader singular then no probs with apostrophe). Let's hope it is a good clean fight, and that we get a knockout.

Enjoy your day, spend your time wisely, and always be ready to be surprised by the little things, and rather saddened by the big things. Remember that you often cannot directly influence the big things, but you can the little, and the rules of the universe dictate that people who look after the little things do begin to have a surprising effect on the things they first thought were beyond their control.

* Now, I try to be a pedant about apostrophes, since they are evil little wotsits, and I pondered long and hard whether "Leaders" has an apostrophe. Is the debate owned by the leaders, or is it merely a debate in which the leaders will be a part. Feel free to leave a comment if you know. Or care. As always, the Scobi Wan Kenobi rules of engagement must be followed. Correct use of capitals. Spell all the words rights. There are two S's in tosser. You know the score.

** Bit of a Roger Moore fan, been practicing for years, taught Grommit everything he knows, which to be honest is not much.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Lord Pearson: worst campaign interview ever? - Comment Central - Times Online - WBLG

Lord Pearson: worst campaign interview ever? - Comment Central - Times Online - WBLG

Another day

I worked with a guy way back in the day, doing a rather tedious job phoning up people in companies trying to get from them the expiry date of their vending machine. This job did have a number of funny moments, such classic gems as:

- "How many people work there?". "About half of them!".
- "Do you know when your vending machine contract ends?". "When the tea lady dies."

We also had this technique that, to be honest was probably the sort of behaviour that would warrant a warning at the least, maybe even the sack. But anyway, neither happened, so it remains a jolly good story. Anyway, the technique was that if someone upset us, we would ring back and when they answered, we would talk while pressing the mute button on and off, doing a kind of Norman Collier, which obviously confuses the other person no end, and provided much amusement to us. Oh how we laughed over that one.

Another time, we were asked to record some calls for playing at a company conference, to demonstrate what we were doing. In hindsight, I cannot help but think that this is, and was, illegal, but as with the Norman Collier trick, no-one found out so none the wiser. The recording kit had a headphone, and so one person did the call while the other listened on the headphones. The kit itself had a variable sensitivity thing built in, so if you were ringing a Yorkshire man, it would wind the volume right down, and if you were ringing a church mouse, it would wind the volume right up. This technical wizardry presented us with an unexpected benefit to the person on headphones, as follows. The usual way the call went was us to do introductions and ask about their vending machine expiry, and often the person had to put the phone down and wander over to a filing cabinet to find details. They would also often mumble to themselves, or grumble to a colleague, and to the caller on the phone, this was not audible, but to the person on the headphones, with the volume cranked right up, they could hear everything. So they would get to hear all the interesting, rude and daft comments made, such as "another f##king tele-marketer" or "It is up next year, but I will tell them in four years time just to get them off our case." We were the James Bonds of the teleconferencing world.

Anyhow, this guy I worked with used to work somewhere else. This somewhere else was a place in Loughborough, where indeed the first job was located, and I cannot remember the name of this somewhere else, but if you know Loughborough, then it is a big old engineering company over the back of the train station. I am guessing the environment may have played a part in the story. So, the guy I worked with (let's call him guy) worked with an old guy (let's call him old guy) who, at 5.29 precisely would put his lunch box and thermos flask in to his Army Surplus rucksack, and using two arms ease his considerable bulk out of the regulation office chair, possibly breaking wind in the process (depending on what the missus had done for his lunch box) would exclaim "Well, that's another day nearer 't' grave."

Happy days.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The wanderer returns

My 4 night trip away 'vannin' is at an end, and I have been jolted back to reality by spending the first day on my new assignment yesterday in London. This is an early visit as I close down or hand back all the loose threads from my old assignment, so I am not back up in town again until next week.

The day went well and I think there is value I can add to things, so I am excited by the "new opportunity". It is likely to mean nights away so that I can spend full days at the customer's offices, and that will take so juggling on the home front. However, it is an opportunity lasting weeks and months rather than months and years, and is something that I am interested in and excited by, so I am happy to make the sacrifices.

As I said at the start, the family spent a fantastic four nights away 'vannin', down in the New Forest. The weather was amazing, in fact we all got a bit sun-burnt, so there was no games of "Raindrop Racing", the world-famous game invented by an East End Cockney Gangster, apparently.

My in-laws are now staying in the van, and it sounds like they are having interesting times. I forgot that we came up from tents, so the white box seems like luxury (which I believe in law must be said with a Yorkshire accent), whereas they have come down from four star hotels, so it may seem like a little box. Certainly my mother-in-law was heard muttering several times about "claustrophobia", so time will tell what they thought about the experience.

We are going back down this coming weekend, to take over the 'vannin' baton from the outlaws, with a trip to Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang-the-stage-show on the Saturday, followed by a trip to Dorset the following weekend, so are really getting some use out of the thing at the moment.

Right, I have exercised my writing muscle, done my "750 Words", give or take 500, and got back in the saddle. More from me tomorrow.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


As I am heading out for a holiday this evening, and I have nothing in my mind, I thought I would share a couple of vaguely relevant quotes on the subject.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction.

To many people holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance.

A good holiday is one spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours.

A vacation should be just long enough that you're boss misses you, and not long enough for him to discover how well he can get along without you.

The rainy days a man saves for usually seem to arrive during his vacation.

Those that say you can't take it with you never saw a car packed for a vacation trip.

Vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking any longer.

On vacations: We hit the sunny beaches where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies, and the sand out of our belongings.

A vacation is like love - anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort and remembered with nostalgia.

Very well said. That's all folks.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

You may think you know what you don't think, and think what you don't know, but...

I have no desire to be an advertising site, but I liked this link.

Tell it what you think about various things, and it will tell you what party matches your views. Give it a go.


I am not a true fan.

How can I even show my face round here.

How could I have forgotten the most important thing that happened this weekend.


Obviously I do need to apologise firstly to any Spurs supporters. Sorry for giving you our manager, our deputy manager, half a backroom and most of our good players, just as they turned not so good (I know, that bit is a lie). Mostly, I am sorry for the pitch cutting up only where your players were standing or, in the case of Dawson, sitting.

Anyhow, enough of the fun banter (eh? Ed), what a fantastic thing for every Pompey supporter, and every neutral, and even a couple of the Spurs fans.

We face some other London club in the final. Talk is they were the same shirts as our boys, and they are a bit handy, although they are also a bit over-paid. Well, whatever happens, win or lose, BRING IT ON

My only fear is what we now do for the remaining 6 league games. There are some dodgy rules about playing the second team, but we really must ensure our best players stay fit, get match practice, but stay uninjured. We cannot afford even one more injury to our threadbare squad. Maybe we should give them all 1950s football boots, with all the strength, padding and protection needed to keep our lads' feet safe. So what if they look like a deep sea diver's boots. So what if they slow people down. WE ARE IN THE FINAL.

Play up Pompey, Pompey Play Up

End of the world...

So what if I can't spell "Armageddon", it's not he end of the world.

Is that music I hear?

I am wresting with the right verb. I can't decide if the right word is make or write or compose or something else altogether. For the purposes of this blog, I shall therefore be using a composite word what we can agree between us means whatever it is that I do. The word shall be compeate. This is part compose, part create.

So, I have been compeating music again. I am working on an Aphex Twin inspired electronica song that I am trying very had to make odd, and, for now, failing. I feel it needs some kind of voice clip, and have decided that I shall be looking for such a sound clip from the film Harvey. Golfy recently watched the film, supposedly on the casual mention by me, and it has reminded me what a charming film it was. I have found the clip and will have a look tonight whether mashegrate (part mash, part integrate of course) it in to the song to see whether I can make it please me.

I even got a message on my MySpace page, along the lines of "liking the music..." but on closer inspection, I notice that it is a company dealing in band paraphernalia, t-shirts, plectrums, stickers, hoodies, lighters etc. Maybe they are flattering to deceive, and I for one am always open to flattery, but am not sure a plectrum is going to be much use on my computer-based home studio.

I am on a short week this week, with a couple of days off to go 'vannin'. This means that a number of loose threads need either to be tidied up or given to someone else to ensure that the Starfleet machine does not stutter due to my absence. In case you are worried, that last bit was me trying to flatter myself, and I realise of course that, as a rule, you are missed in such circumstances about as much as a bucket of water misses your hand when you take it out.

As I will be off air for a couple of days, I thought I had better leave you with a joke so the memory of me lingers until I return (self-flattery again). As anyone who knows me knows, I do like to tell a joke, and have a soft spot for a-man-walks-in-to-a-bar type jokes. Here goes.

A nose walks into a bar and asks for a drink. The bartender says, "Sorry, I can't serve you. You're already off your face."


Monday, 12 April 2010

What is wrong with the world, and what is right

Go on, ask me what I did at the weekend. Go on, you know you want to.

Well, the answer is that we spent a lovely day and night at our friends' house up north, in Newbury. Then on Sunday we went to a caravan show. Now I have talked before about caravans, and feel the need to do so again.

After my last article, Mori conducted an exit poll from the blog in question, and of 17 people interviewed:

- 0.1% were very very satisfied
- 0.2% were very satisfied
- 1% were satisfied
- 98.7% were don't know.

As Vic Reeves said, 84.6% of statistics are made up on the spot. It may have been someone else.

We managed to buy not a lot really, but the kids had great fun running in and out of a hundred caravans and motor homes (oh yes, motor homes too) and we did have a fantastic picnic made by our friends which included tortilla (Spanish omlette, not triangle crisps) rolls, which were absolutely delicious and up there with the now extinct Worcester egg salad baguette with extra black pepper.

Whilst up north, I was discussing with Thoughtful about the use of "so", since I have noticed since starting this blog that I want to start a lot of sentences with the word. Check yourself today, I bet you will want to say "so" a lot of times to start a sentence.

So, anyway, we were also discussing life, and the things wrong with it, and in summary our three things wrong with the world are:

1. infinite lives on video games.
2. people don't play enough cards.
3. people don't darn socks anymore.

Infinite lives give a false sense of security, and stop people taking responsibility for their actions, and therein lies the problem. Dropping litter is about many things, but not least that the person dropping their fag packet, empty Tennant's Extra or crisp packet knows that they won't have to pick it up. If they dropped it in their own home, sooner or later they would.

Cards is about odds, what others are thinking, and strategies. It makes you think about cause and effect (if I throw the king, will they want it), odds (based on what they have thrown out, and what has already been laid down, the seven is the safest card to discard) and strategies (if we let them win, we might get some tonight). Everyone needs these skills to be an effective member of society, able to contribute positively and to work effectively with their friends, colleagues and family.

Darning socks is about mend and make do, repairing rather than replacing, having a sense of maintaining and looking after your possessions. These skills have been rather lost in our "throw away society" and while the obvious parallel are material things like plastic bags and old TVs, it does go deeper in to a mental attitude that pervades through society that sometimes blinds us to the real value in things.
For those with a keen eye, I am happy to acknowledge that this sock darning sentiment is actually one of Walander's views on life, with meaning expanded by me. Don't want any accusations of plagiarism. Especially if they are true.

Have a good Monday and see you again tomorrow.

Friday, 9 April 2010


I forgot to mention the momentous treaty signed between Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to reduce nuclear weapons.

The treaty sets a limit of 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads for each side, down from 2,200 under a 2002 deal. The pact also re-establishes anti-cheating procedures that were not written into the 2002 accord, thus providing the most comprehensive and substantial arms control agreement since the 1991 treaty.

I for one will sleep at night knowing the amount of times that each sides can blow up the world has been reduced by 30%.

I am also slightly amused by the idea of cheating. Do you think they paint smiley faces on the bombs and pass them off as super tall Barbies?

God Save the Queen

Not entirely comfortable with taking a couple of key people's name in vain, but needs must, and it does fit the tone of today's blog.

Yesterday, it was announced that Malcolm McLaren had died, aged 64, from a rare form of cancer. He is generally credited as the "Godfather of Punk" and if not entirely true, it is true enough for most people to be comfortable believing it.

While I was alive during the punk era, in truth it mostly passed me by, although I did keep from nanny a small seam tear on a pair of tweed plus fours once.

What I do remember are the punks who hung about on the Kings Road during the early eighties, just before the Chelsea Barracks, so as you walked down the road you had the faint smell of vomit followed by the faint smell of wee (really tasteless, Ed.).

I also recall a story from someone during that era, who may have been Richard E Grant but I am not certain. I am guessing that if it was indeed Richard E, then it was probably around the time of Withnail and I, which is obviously a guess on a guess, so of very dubious provenance.

But let's not worry about the detail, the story goes as follows. The person in question, Richard E, was walking down a road, let's call it The King's Road since we are making stuff up with wild abandon, and he notices a punk starting to follow him. The punk is pretty scary looking, with mohican hair, bondage trousers and a t-shirt that resembled a bin liner, all held together with safety pins. Alarmed, Richard E starts to speed up, but as he does so, the punk also speeds up. So he goes even faster, breaking in to a light jog, only to find the punk running at full pelt towards him, catching him up soon after. "Excuse me, but aren't you Richard E Grant," he asks. Richard confirms that he is, to which the punk then asks "I wonder if I could have your autograph please?" Richard E feels about his person, but cannot find a pen, and neither can the punk. "I can always spit on your plastic bag if you want," says Richard E. "Oh, would you?" replies the punk.

The moral of the story is probably that you cannot judge by appearances. Unlike Pete Docherty who cannot appear by judges. Boom boom.

This weekend we are entertaining my parents on Friday evening for my mum's birthday, we are off for a day and night on Saturday to friends up country, and we are going to a caravan show at Broadlands on Sunday. I can think of nothing witty to write about that, so will wait for the many comments on the subject before I comment further. As before, please use small letters and try to spell the words right. There are two S's in tosser.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Digital Economy Bill

I wanted to add my voice to the mounting concern of a rushed and ill thought out piece of legislation, but like Golfy, I am speechless. So, instead, I will paraphrase the views expressed on last Friday's Now Show, which are both relevant and funny.

So, it looks like the government is going to win the day, and the new Digital Economy Bill is going to survive scrutiny and become law. Most people struggle with the fact that it was seemingly (maybe that should be allegedly?) conceived by Peter Mandelson after a dinner with David Geffen, a story that could only be made worse if they had been sitting on seats made from human skulls, and had shared a glass of dark red stuff with the Illuminata.

So what does this mean for normal people. It is easy to get hysterical, which is often half the fun, but the burden of proof does seem to lie with the individual to prove they were not downloading illegal music, just class A porn. This is like saying that every bottom could hide drugs, so the answer is for every person in the country to have a cavity inspection. When it comes to rubber gloves, that is one bit of digital economy I can definitely support.

It also puts the onus on "any ISP", which could extend to anyone who has not secured their wireless, and so are allowing, unwittingly, others to access their broadband connection. Every street has at least one so that should be interesting, seeing sweet Mrs Jones being hauled off to prison in a paddy wagon.

The music industry told us that home taping would kill music. I am not sure if I know what a tape even looks like now, and I AM old enough to have remembered. I do, however, remember in just a bit too much detail Lady Gaga and that too thin woman from X-Factor, so I guess that theory has been busted.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

And Then it is Gone

It is a well-known phenomenon, and one that I am very used to, however it still catches my by surprise every time.

What am I talking about? The "time off" phenomenon. At the start of six days off, it feels like ages until you are back to work, and you keep telling yourself that it will all pass by very quickly, yet no amount of self-talk can prepare you for the suddenness with which Tuesday morning is upon you.

Oh well. So, here I am, Tuesday morning, feeling slightly shell-shocked that I am back to work, that I have a pretty full Inbox and that I am trying to remember all the bits that I need to do today. Luckily I write everything down because, a long time ago, I realised that I have a terrible memory. I have worked with people who keep their whole to do list in their heads, remember every fact ever uttered in a meeting and can recall them with pin-point accuracy whenever they can have the most devastating effect.

Me? I can barely remember what I had for breakfast. So I write it down. If it is not written down, it does not exist. Which is a variation on the old joke that "if it does not appear in Powerpoint, it does not exist" which is obviously a dig at our fine marketing colleagues. I think.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter is over.... sort of

We had a lovely day yesterday. Went to church for the Easter Sunday service which, if truth be told, was half an hour too long. Father Stuart is prone to talking a lot, or including lots of sections that draw out the service.
We were just on time (which equals late really) and had to separate in to two pairs. I got off lightly, sitting with maggot 1 who was very well behaved. LO was not so lucky with maggot 2 who, in fairness, has always had a 40 minute attention span, so the second half of the service was an ordeal, made worse because they were not sitting in their usual places, so were therefore sitting next to some of the more elderly members of the congregation. I believe there were a few silent tuts.

Then we had 10 for lunch. After an unfortunate potato peeling incident, I peeled what I thought was way too many potatoes, but by the end of the meal all the main course food had gone. It must have been all that running around outside playing a "football match". At least there was plenty of puddings left for later eating.
The lawn is absolutely knackered, but no point spending too much effort on it this side of the extension, but more of that another day.

We don't have much on today, so I hope to spend a bit of time in the garden, pruning an over-hanging apple tree that, in the autumn, is prone to dropping hundreds of apples on my lawn, which are a pain to keep picking up. I will also try and get the maggots inspired to do a bit of maintenance on the trampoline, which needs some green algae cleaned off the bottom of the net, and some general repairs to both net and spring padding.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Stepping off the bus

I am on day four of my little break, and it is still only Saturday. I took Wednesday and Thursday off to use up my holiday, an annual event enjoyed by many at Starfleet, but an event that makes the corridors of the organisation considerably less congested at this time of year. in fact, it now rivals the summer break for being a time when no-one is around and you can get nothing done.

I have had a very enjoyable, and mostly relaxing, time these last few days, and am very much feeling like a normal human being again. Today is Saturday and we have nothing much on, so are hoping the weather stays unwet so we can go for a bike ride.

This evening may well see us watching some of series three of Gavin and Stacey, having just devoured the last of series two, which was most enjoyable. The little moments of humour mixed with genuine characters who you really care about makes it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Several of the funnier moments having us laughing out loud, and that does not have very often in the Scobi household with our clothes on.
We are obviously a bit late to the party with G&S, but boy are we glad we are on to it now, and having all three series to watch back to back is a joy to behold. "Gavalar".

So that is just about all for now. I would like to be looking forward to listening to Pompey vs Blackburn on the radio, but these days it can be a depressing experience, made worse in the last couple of weeks with further injuries, and couple of desertions, meaning that I won't even know some of the names on the pitch, being young'uns from the academy, and goodness knows if we will even make a full reserve bench.
Hey ho, the big event for us is obviously the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, when we meet the arch rival Harry. Play up Pompey.

Thursday, 1 April 2010


This is a subject in the same category as morris dancing and flower pressing. We all know someone who does it, but it is never spoken of in polite company. Well, today is the day to break that taboo, and I am the man for the job.

My name is Scobi, and I am a caravanner. There, I said it. I can expect a great reduction in readership just by uttering that one sentence.

So, why am I 'van and proud? Well, I guess it comes down to kids, family, electrical devices (or lack of) and time. The kids love going 'vannin' coz they get time and space to run around a lot, do stuff like getting muddy, making camps, riding their bikes, exploring streams, and generally keeping themselves occupied, and very much enjoying the freedom to do what they want without an adult in tow. Now, this is really good for parents as well. If the kids are occupied, then the parents can suit themselves, and that usually involved egg baps, tea and cake. And a couple of hands of Canasta. Or just chatting. Or just sitting (see previous post). So since a family is made up of kids and parents (without getting in to any "nuclear family" debates), this all adds up to being good for the family.
Next on the list is electrical devices. We have a fridge (keeps the beer cool), a cooker (cooks stuff), lights (helps to see stuff) and even a water pump and water heater (warm water is good for other stuff). Other than that, we are devoid of any twenty-first century devices. No TV, no phone, no laptop, no broadband (although these last two can be accommodated on most sites these days) and no little chores round the house to see to. Bliss. All we have to do is empty loos and waste water, and fill up the water barrel once a day or so. Even the latter two go away on a "fully serviced site" and I have just bought the gizmo that plumbs the water in to a tap so I don't need to fill up water, and a long waste pipe to plumb straight in to the waste hole on the pitch. So now all I need to do is empty the poo poos. At this point I ought to digress and discuss poo poo. Most people are probably cringing slightly at this point. If they are eating breakfast, lunch, tea, supper or a midnight feast, they may even be gagging slightly. But, no need dear readers. A bit of blue stuff (organic of course) in the tub turns it all in to harmless and odourless slop, which makes the emptying thereof not nearly as yucky as you would fear.

So the final benefit for me is time. Life is busy, and oftentimes all I want is to step off the bus for a while, and 'vannin' is just that. Stepping off the bus, taking a bit of time to think and talk and sleep and eat and drink and generally slow down. Your life 'vannin' is filled with either thinking about or actually doing one of the following:
- drinking
- eating
- washing
- sleeping
- thinking about where we can go out for half a day, just so that we can see some of the area, but really just so we can come back again and carry on doing what we were doing before we went somewhere.

So, finally, I wanted to clear up a few myths.

Myth 1: caravanners are boring
Well, what one person thinks about another person is always subjective. My experience is that there is no-one more boring than someone who thinks they are interesting.

Myth 2: We hold up the traffic.
I really don't understand this one. Wherever I go with my 'van in tow, the roads are always clear in front of me.

Myth 3: camping is cooler
We have camped on and off for 20 years. We loved camping. But we didn't find it cool spending 2 hours to setup, 2 hours to break down the camp, getting cold, having uncomfortable nights, and generally having a high hassle/fun ratio. 'Vanning solves most of the hassle, but takes away none of the fun. In my opinion. Which we have already concluded is subjective.

If anyone is converted, unconvinced of nauseated by this blog, please leave me a comment. Make it polite, and try to spell all the words correctly. I know, that last comment was nasty, and not befitting the calibre of reader I am attracting, for which I apologise.