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Friday, 28 May 2010

Well, wasn't that a week and a half

Only 3 days in London, but it felt like 10.  Went to The Globe to watch a very long play called Henry VIII.  Some fat geezer wot liked to put it about a bit.  Spoke funny, and used a lot of words and many of them really didn't make any sense.  You just have to glaze over a bit and let the words wash over you.  Better than sedatives.

Off for a week in the 'van so won't be posting much.  I guess that my already dwindling readers will be finding something less boring to watch, so I promise to come back full of stories that will make you laugh, cry and feel just a little bit uncomfortable.

Until then, ttfn.

Saturday, 22 May 2010


Such an evocative word.  Someone who tell tales.  Marijuana.  That green stuff my kids destroy.  Take your pick.

Today, I am talking about the green stuff.  I feel pricked in to action by fellow bloggers Golfy and A Bad Man who seem to bang on about the stuff endlessly.  And as for lawnmowers, give me a break.  Anyone would think they have a soul, they are sentient beings, they know the difference between marmite and poo.  

Before any lawyers are summonsed, I am only joking.  You guys need to lighten up a bit.  I LOVE your long stories about your little darlings, stories told with genuine love and devotion, with the occasional sprinkling of hate.  I have to keep reminding myself that these are the same dudes wot take the wotsit out of me for being a 'vanner.  How very dare they.  Just to show there are no hard feelings, here's a little bit of mower porn.  She's a beauty isn't she.  You like her don't you.

So, enough about those crazy dudes, let's get back to the guy who really knows how to rock (his 'van, of course).

Today, I may mow the lawn.  Then I may put up the swimming pool.  You may be conjuring images of infinity pools, loungers and crystal waters.  We can just about summon the latter, but the rest is just that, an image.  Our pool is a twelve foot diameter inflatable, super-sized paddling pool.  It fills to about 60cm deep so does hold a lot of water.  Bung on the cover when not in use and it warms up in days.  And the maggots love it.  With their recent interest in tree-climbing, I fear some Acapulco re-enactments might be on the cards this year, so a few ground rules - pool rules - will need to be in place.

Maggot 1 gets invested today, as a cub.  This is followed by a two hour show to celebrate the pack's 100 year anniversary.  Now, I love the recorder orchestra as much as the next deaf person, and seeing my little darling doing something artistic brings me all out in a luvvy rash.  but TWO HOURS.  He does have a bit of a predilection for a good song 'n' dance show.  You should see his Louis Spence impersonation; pure You've Been Framed magic.  

And he is a bit young to know the full truth about our Louis.

So, that's all for this week.  Have a great weekend.  Enjoy the weather.  And cut the grass.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Another week, another challenge

Another week is nearly over, and I have a whole bunch of new challenges.  I have been up in London for four days and three nights, and that does take its toll.  To put it simply, I miss my family.  I also cannot continue to have three courses at every meal.

Work is hard right now.  I should be grateful I have a job, and mostly I am.  I should also be grateful I am doing a job that, in the main, I enjoy doing.  I am certainly very glad that I do not pluck chickens for a living, or any other kind of job that is based on doing the same boring thing over and over and over.

However, man is never content.  Give me a million, and I want two.  Give me a nice watch, and I want an iPhone.  Give me a pair of ladies underwear...  Sorry, that must just be me.  I find life in the City a hectic, frantic, crazy time, with people everywhere, and no time of day or night whether there is not at least one group of suited beings drinking alcohol.  Do these people not have jobs to do?  They obviously do, to pay for the flash suit and the expensive lager, but it is a job that is obviously heavy on expense-paid lunches, heavy on networking, but light on clocking in and out.  Good on them.

The weekend draws near, and I for one am very keen to get in to it and enjoy some R&R. This weekend we have friends over for the night, and a new cub to be invested. Should be a good one, and with the weather likely to hit the high twenties Celcius, it has the potential to be a great couple of days.  I hope you enjoy yours, and we will speak again next week. 

As a final note, you should check out Golfy's blog.  It has an amazing YouTube clip watching a hand draw a series of cartoons to tell a story of what motivates people.  It is quote a remarkable video.

Friday, 14 May 2010


Now, I am very much a man who lives by the adage "try everything once except incest and Morris dancing".  Once a chap has layed down that important moral foundation stone for life, then he can make his way up the evolutionary scale to full human being.  If he wears the right tie (more on ties later) and shakes hands in the "right" way, then he may even ascend to the lofty heights of thoroughly decent chap. 

So what has all this got to do with slippers, I hear you cry.  Well this is the point that I am, eventually, trying to make.  Maybe the list of things I would not try even once needs extending.  Perhaps it should read "try everything once except incest, Morris dancing and wearing slippers".  Now, the jury may well be out on slippers, in fact they are probably down the pub selling their story to the red tops, but I feel that a discussion forum such as this is exactly the place to tackle the difficult subjects in life.  Like slippers.

If I were to share with you another foundation stone for life, then it would be that what a chap does in the comfort of his own home is, by and large, and referring oneself to the first foundation stone of life, his own business.  If a chap chooses to wear a slipper device on his meat pies, and it doesn't scare the children or the horses, be damned man, he should jolly well be able to wear them.

I appreciate such a stance will enable my friends to mock me, and for strangers to make a mental note not to leave me in charge of the remote control.  You should remember that I love 'vannin', so I guess I stepped over the threshold a long time ago.  Those who really love me will forgive my foibles.  Those who don't will be steering a wider berth next time they see me coming down the corridor.

As Golfy would say, if you can't join 'em, feck off and do something else.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

A note from the wilderness

I have just discovered that the hotel provides complimentary wifi.  This does translate to "very slow wifi" but there again you can't get much cheaper than free.  Unless you are an MP (don't go there. Ed.)

Today is Thursday, and tonight I shall be braving the uncertainties of the British railway system to get myself from here to home.  To be precise, I shall be braving the uncertainties of the Southern railway system, which is even worse.  I hear tales from colleagues who travel on the trains to the north of our capital, and they are tales of power sockets and wifi, and even seats, available on trains.  They seem to have this thing called a timetable that tells them when the train will leave and arrive, and sometimes their train does leave and arrive when the timetable says it should.  

My old gran, god bless her soul, was a bit of a character, and she did not always get things right, but she was one for a pithy comment.  Such gems as "black as Newgate's knocker", "it's grey over Lil's way" and "you like like a bag of sh!t tied up" were just some of her more frequent musings, as was "it's grim up North".  Having always thought my gran had a natty turn of phrase, if not a little bit on the "has she been on the sherry" side of sane, I do feel I need to take her to task, in spirit if not in body, over her views on the North.  It is self evident that those little matchstick women and matchstick men, with their flat caps and whippets, have got it sussed, and just act dumb to keep us soft Southerners guessing, and more importantly to keep us from going up North and seeing how good life can really be.  I did go up North once to Guildford and was not a little surprised at how normal it seemed.  Not at all like Open All Hours, that groundbreaking documentary on life in the North done by David Dimbleby or Ronnie Sullivan or someone.

One final comment on the state of our government.  First thing to say is obviously that we now have one.  After the election results, the nation was bracing itself for a long wait while the chaps in suits decided who was getting the expenses-paid trip to visit all the heads of state, and who gets to sit in the big chair.  In the end it all happened rather quickly, and was certainly pleasing on the eye.  My favourite bit was the morning after the night before, and there was a constant Cam cam on the front door of our newly appointed leader.  I can only assume the door had just been painted, and we were therefore watching it dry.  At one stage, the camera person thought they saw a twitch of the curtains, and zoomed in with the kind of dizzying camera work that could, frankly, put a chap off his cornflakes, but it came to nothing.  So the camera zoomed out back to watching the door, and I swear it had dried significantly since we last saw it.

One final final comment on Clegg.  I have been rather swept along with Cleggmania, and think he seems like a pretty decent sort of chap, even if he did go to some posh school.  I felt he gave a very good account of himself in the first leaders' debate, fairly good in the second and even-stevens in the third.
 Now that he is deputy Prime Minister, he does seem a little bit star struck.  If I compare the body language of Clegg and Cameron, then Cameron does seem to be statesman-like, whereas Clegg seems a bit "bloody hell, I am actually here" like some star-struck tourist who gets on camera whilst a famous person is being interviewed.  The only bit missing was Clegg getting on his phone to ring his mates.  "You'll never guess who I am standing next to...."

I wish them well, since there will be trouble ahead.  I hope that there are changes to the voting system, so that votes can count again.  Golfy sent me a link where you can see how effective your vote can be in your postcode, and mine was 0.04% of a vote, on account of the fact that one party gets 60% of the vote every time.  With some kind of PR, at least my vote will count in the total, and that may urge me, and many others who obviously retreated back to basics of voting either A or B, to vote for who we really like, not just for the one that is "most effective but not the one I like least."

Monday, 10 May 2010

Quick note before I disappear up North

I am away for 3 days this week and so need to send off a brief blog today to keep the punters interested.  I have noticed a worrying drop in visits when I don't write anything, which is probably that old rule about action and reaction, but what do I know.  The funny thing is, when I start writing again, the stats drop even lower.  It must be the same phenomenon like when more people went to see the space where the Mona Lisa had been before it was stolen than they did when it was on the wall.

I actually have nothing to say today.  I plan to carry over any spare from my 750 words to use in rants against the TV on Saturday, when my team (the blue team on the South Coast) play the FA Cup final against some tin pot team Blue from the capital.  I intend to enjoy every second of the game, although that may be easier said than done.  Instead, I may beat myself mercilessly about the head with a rusty Morris Minor starter handle at the start, so that anything that happens afterward is pure pleasure by comparison.  It is only a game, it is a game of two halves, my grandmother could have scored that, are just some of the cliches that may well come forth from the TV, and I shall respond in kind with such beauties as "you don't know what you're doing" and "you must be joking ref" and "my cat could see that was offline".  I certainly do not subscribe to the adage that you avoid cliches like the plague.  Where would the fun be in that.  Noone would know what I was saying if I kept using new phrases.

Oh well, it is all part of life's rich tapestry. 

Saturday, 8 May 2010


Me likey.

The trouble with jogging is that, by the time you realize you're not in shape for it, it's too far to walk back.

I had a dream

Last night, I had a dream that I was Jeremy Clarkson.  The reasons for mentioning this are twofold: firstly, I don't dream much.  The time between going to sleep and waking up is often to short to get in a bit of REM sleep.  And to be honest, if I do ever dream then the chances are I would forgot it anyway, my age being what it is.

Secondly, I know for a fact that Golfy fancies Jeremy Clarkson.  If I try to evaluate the feelings this thought arises in me on the Cringe Scale, then it falls somewhere between the dream I used to have where I was sitting naked outside the Headmaster's office (it was meant to be a parents' evening), and the feeling I had when I awoke at 9am in Athens Airport.  I appreciate this latter experience obviously sounds rather lame, but I should add the rest of the story.  We were Interailing through Europe and had arrived at Athens Airport at 1am.  Doing what all rightful backpackers do, I got out the rollmat and sleeping bag and went to sleep on the floor, only to awake in the middle of the main area at 9am during rush hour, with my fellow travelers doing nothing but sitting and watching me.  (Note to self: there is a blog somewhere in my Interailing stories.)

Anyhow, back to Jeremy.  I have to say it was quite fun being the big man.  No longer did I have to be troubled by those irritating things like recycling, driving a diesel and other people's feelings.  It was not all plain-sailing though.  The hair was a nightmare.  Where it does exist, and that is diminishing by the day, it is, how do I put this without offending, curly.  What do you do with curly hair?  I know what I did in my dream; I died it white and shaved it in to little balls like a poodle.  I must check him out on Top Gear just to check it was a dream.

As for Golfy, I also know he fancies Esther Rantzen*, whose experience in politics should, by rights, kill off any wish to stand as an MP.  She stood on an anti-sleaze ticket in Luton South against Margaret Moran who did some dodgy things, the final thing being that she stood down, and her replacement was a church pastor.  Dear old Esther got only 17** votes and lost her deposit, which was, apparently, a 69th birthday present to herself.  Next year she is buying herself a stick with which she intends to beat herself.

So that is my dream.  What is yours?

* My lawyers would like me to point out that Golfy probably does not really fancy Esther Rantzen, and that his taste in women is generally very sound, although there was the time...

** My lawyers would like me to point out that this number was written for comic value, and that Esther actually polled 1,872 votes.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Well wasn't that a disappointment

For reasons other than the election, I could not sleep last night so got up around 4am for a cuppa and to check out the election, and to be honest it was pretty disappointing.
From 10pm last night they had published the "exit poll" which laid out a slight Tory victory, Labour second and LibDem a very poor third.  Then with nothing else much to do, they played with their various toys, SwingOmeters and other wizzo graphics, to work out what things would look like if the exit polls were correct.
Then they would cut to a person who reminded us that exit polls can go wrong, remember 1992 they say, but that did not stop them doing all sorts of projections, and wasn't it fun.

I have to say that the show, live as it was, did provide good entertainment and they did manage to keep it zipping along and it was pretty interesting most of the time.  By 4am they looked absolutely knackered, but to their credit they made very few mistakes, and in fact it was the technology that gave them more problems than tired brains. 

So, now what we have is a long wait until all the counts are in, and the political jockeying is finished, and I really do not know how it will all end.  Let's watch that space!

Have a good weekend, speak again next week.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Have you voted?

I know I have. Remembering is not so hard, not least because my son's schools is a polling station, so he has an INSET day today. The house is therefore alive with the sound of Ben 10 and other toxic children's TV, Wii games and other noisy activities.

I have visited the said polling station, better known as the school hall, first thing this morning, beating Golfy by a good 10 hours. I tried to convince him of the well known theory that a vote cast in the morning has more weight and influence than one cast in the evening. Mumbled scientific explanations about doing the Times crossword in the afternoon is easier were met with monumental indifference. The boy has a lot to learn.

The sun is currently shining, my belly is full, and all is well with the world. The conference call I am currently on is very interesting. I may tell you about it sometime. Can you tell I don't have much to say.

So, tomorrow we shall be able to discuss in detail the results of General Election 2010.

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

Sorry, dear readers, for not writing for a while. Starfleet has moved my base to London and I am currently working mostly at the customer offices, which has a pretty vigorous web blocking system, which, you guessed it, blocks my blog. I also have not got organised yet for any kind of internet connection when mobile. So for the two or three days I spend on account are blogless. I feel positively negative about the whole blogfast, yet find myself today not entirely sure what the hell to write.

Oh well, it has not stopped me before. Just start the sentence with "So" and see how it goes.

So, my working week this week has been spent "laying the foundation stones" of the process we need in place to get control of our workload, and we had a very successful time doing just that.

Socially*, I had a quite evening in the hotel room with room service. After three weekends of over-indulgence, what I needed was no beer and some rest. And I got both. The hotel and room were very nice, the room-service a bit limited, but I had a right old time and arrived at the (full English) breakfast the next morning refreshed and ready for day two.

I did manage to miss my connecting train home by being on the phone to a work colleague, so spent half an hour longer than I needed to on East Croydon station. To be honest, one station looks a lot like another, and this one was no exception. All the people on the various platforms had a uniformly similar expression that said "I would really rather be anywhere else but here", and most were engaged in some activity of other involving either a Blackberry or an iPhone. I have been doing my own Scobi poll of hand held devices used by the natives of Londinium, and can confirm that 94.75% of people either had a Blackberry or an iPhone. Having used a friend's iPhone to check my eBay sales, I can confirm that it is a natty device, but still not the perfect browsing experience**. As a Blackberry user myself, albeit one without any data services***, I can also confirm that it may be very good at many things, but being a phone is not really one of them**.

It was good to be home, and roasted veg and halloumi with special Harisa source on cous cous was a fine home-coming meal, and it was lovely to see the family again.

I am at home for the rest of the week, so you can expect more regular posts until next Tuesday, when I am up for two nights and three days. I really must sort out connectivity.

*does that count as starting with "so"?
** Yes, that is considered understatement you are sensing.
*** I know, that does not compute. What is the point, you ask, of having a Blackberry without any data services. That is most definitely an oxymoron. We call it Starfleet logic. Which is also an oxymoron.