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Friday, 26 April 2013

And . . . relax

Not much to report.

Weekend is going to be fairly quiet, though we are at David and Samantha's for the evening, so not really sure what I mean by "fairly quiet" coz it will likely be noisy and very very messy, but fun.

Fishing update: little bit of light rain crept in at 4pm, but still can change between now and then.

Very sad news from A&E, our 'vannin' buddies, who had their 'van stolen overnight Wednesday/Thursday.  They store it at a friends farm, which has pretty good security because he runs a business from the outbuildings, but obviously not enough to deter the thieves, who cut through an outer fence and stole everything, except, bizarrely, A's apron (which she uses each morning when cooking the fried eggs for the obligatory fried-egg-sandwich breakfast).  Inside it had their (expensive) memory foam topper, TV, radios, awning, bike rack and all the usual gear you have in a second home.  They, and we, are gutted.  If anyone offers you a Lunar 'van going cheap, let us know. 

Seriously though, the advice from the police was to keep an eye on the internet.  My theory is that there is some unworthy family somewhere who now have a new fully-furnished home.  As you know, a chap of my breeding is not prone to swearing, at least not in front of the ladies, or the horses, but, to be honest, bastards.  Really gives you an unwanted dose or reality.  Damn them.

Have a great weekend, and speak next week.

Thursday, 25 April 2013


Now, I do not have Golfy's (slightly obsessive and just a little bit weird*) love of films, but when I get to see one, I am usually mighty pleased to have done so.  That is not to say that I don't watch the odd stinker, but in general we pick carefully and are often rewarded for doing so.

And so it was that we sat down, with Maggots, to watch The Hobbit.  I had been affected to a certain extent by the general reviews about long and slow, so maybe that set my expectations down a bit, but I have to say I thought it was charming and very engaging.  It never seemed to go slow to me, rather it went at normal pace, but with a sense that the story was going to be very long, if that makes sense.  There were one or two slightly "look away now" scary moments for Maggot 2, but we all thoroughly enjoyed it and cannot wait for Part 2.  It did end very abruptly, pretty much like turning off the DVD (yes, LO accidentally didn't order BlueRay) at the end of a scene half way through the film to go to bed, but I can forgot that simply because, actually, it just makes me want the next scene a little bit more.  Excellent, 8.5 out of 10.

The other film we watched was Karate Kid.  The originals passed me by, but with a new generation of Scobi maggots in the nest, the new one, recorded off the TV, with, apparently, Will Smith's son as the "kid" lead.  I have to say that we all really enjoyed it.  For me, being a bit of an old fuddy duddy, it was more the relationship between the kid and Jackie Chan's character, and the spiritual bits were maybe trite, but I still liked them.  I could take or leave the fighting, but as it was sparingly sprinkled through the film, that was OK as well.  Very good, 7 out of 10.

On other news, the weather is starting to look very good for next Tuesday.  By "very good", I mean without rain and above zero temperature, in fact once the day has started, it will be sunshine and above ten degrees.  Sitting beside a lake with nothing to do but chat, work out when I am allowed the next sandwich, and watching a little yellow float tip is actually just what the doctor ordered, and in this house, we always do what the doctor says.

Work is work, with some good bits and not so good bits, and in this, the Year of the Career, I really think I ought to be doing a bit more of something else.

* only joking Golfy, you are not just a little bit.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Surprise, what surprise?

The surprise party was not such a surprise.  It appears that father-in-law, when under the influence, may have blurted out the details of the "surprise" party to mother-in-law.  Consequently, she had her hair in a modern take on a beehive and dressed to the nines.  Not, I think you will agree, the usual behaviour of someone "just popping over for a quiet evening".

The evening itself went well.  The curries went down well, even if the paneer got a sneer.  Luckily the beer flowed, with Kev alone, he being the uncle who built our extension, having a raging thirst and downing his own body-weight in Becks alone.  Father-in-law's three brothers went to the final Pompey home game of the season, one that ended very satisfactorily at three-nil to Pompey.  Combined with the news that the 10 points are deducted this season, since we are now out of administration, just topped a great week.

We can now look forward to League Two football, but with a clear bank balance, a fresh start with a Supporters' Trust running the show, led, as it happens, but an employee of Starfleet.  Bring it on.

Friday, 19 April 2013

And . . . relax

Another week is nearly over, one that was pretty successful overall.  Work has done what work needs to do, and I have started painting the patched up plaster in the hall.  I have also submitted all my remixes ready for the world to herald me as the next <insert name of your favourite remix DJ>. 

We have, as you know, a surprise party this weekend - cannot tell you about it until Monday - and otherwise hopefully a quiet weekend where we can have some family time and a chance to get some more DIY done.

Things are fairly quiet and stable, so nothing much else to say.  Next week we will be watching, with baited* breath, the weather for the following Tuesday, which is our fourth choice for a fishing day. 

Have a great weekend, speak next week.

* Baited, fishing, nice.

Thursday, 18 April 2013


I am tacking the shot plaster in the hall.  It is not a big patch, but they can sometimes be tricky getting it to seamlessly blend in to the existing without a lump or dip.  A professional would simply do it right first time, but I prefer the "put it on and sand it off, and repeat" process, which has produced a fine finish.

The only fly in the ointment is that a bit I repaired does not seem to have taken, giving the appearance of early shotting basically.  This is a worry, since there is no obvious crack on the outside render to suggest water ingress, yet at the same time one cannot ignore the fact that the plaster did not take. If I can get half an hour at lunchtime I will clear it out and apply another coat, by way of experimenting as to whether this is a one off or recurring problem.

We have a surprise party this weekend, so don't tell anyone.  This means LO spent about 5 hours yesterday evening making a selection of wonderfully scented and rather delicious looking curries.  I requested that sufficient quantity was made to ensure that Sunday supper was sorted too, and judging by the pans in the fridges, I think my wish may well come true.

I listened with interest that Brighton and Hove are considering setting up "shooting galleries" where addicts can go to take their drugs in a clean and safe environment.  Listening to the report, I can see the logic, but am also struck by the difficulty with state-condoned illegality.  To me, this contrasted rather awkwardly with the other story of note, the severely disabled man who wants to be able to die when he wants, but to do so would require direct intervention from a doctor, since he is totally paralysed.  He is looking for a change in the law so that that doctor would not then be prosecuted for murder.  A situation where the state is not ready to legally allow what some may call an "illegality". 

We also watched Britain's Got Talent, something I unashamedly enjoy, and something that, on reflection, is a sort of televisual shooting gallery; totally addictive junk that does you no good, and something on which everyone has an opinion.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Weather

In case you didn't notice, I have changed the background of my blog, in celebration of the changing seasons.  At long last, the weather is changing, the sun shone, the temperature rose above ten degrees centigrade, and if none of that resonates with you, during our long, country walk yesterday LO was down to her t-shirt.  I know, unheard of.

To Do Lists

We had a great weekend.  Brad and Angelina and their flock stayed the weekend.  The Maggots setup a camp in the front room, with sofa cushions on the floor and various blankets and snugglies propped up with chairs and sticks and pegs for a roof.  So much did they like it, that they slept the night there.  That freed up 2 beds for LO and me so everyone was happy, and they certainly enjoyed their den.
A fantastic evening of chat and food and beer and wine, followed by some vodka chasers, courtesy of home-made red-something and lemon vodkas from two years' of A&E Christmas Hampers.

Also, inspired by BadMan, I thought I would share my small victories on the to do list front.

Fix the under-sink door in kitchen (wood in which top hinge screws in perished, due to excessive weight of back-of-door-carrier-bag bin).  Tick.

Prune apple tree.  Tick (though not one LO deems particularly high on the list, but then she does not have to pick up apples in Autumn).

Buy plaster for shot plaster in hall.  Tick (OK, so maybe doing it would really get the tick, but now I can do it at my leisure).

Fix DAB radio issue.  Tick.  Interesting one this.  As part of the requirements to get the building certificate for our extension, we need to convert 75% of lights to low energy, something that our electrician should have known, but did not, and being a friend of my father-in-law, politically sensitive to point out said error.  I have had to do a lot of research, and basically unless your transformer is specifically designed to run a low energy LED light, you might get flickering.  Ours are not, so we do indeed get flickering.  What we also get is interference.  When the LED lights are on, the DAB reception stops.  Now, this may be a measure of running on transformers not designed for LED, or it may be that we chose at the cheaper end of the LED spectrum, or it may not be either of these.  Anyway, we have, at least, solved the DAB reception problem that had caused most of our radios to stop working.

We have sort of planned to use the May Bank Holiday weekend as a bit of a DIY catch-up.  We have also gently considered 'vannin' in the Forest instead, an idea awoken in no small part by the great weather we experienced yesterday, when we took a pretty long walk up and round Kingley Vale, which, after 2 late nights for Maggot 1 and 2 very late night for the rest of us, was something of a stretch.  I suspect that our heads will vote for DIY, and our hearts for 'vannin', and it will probably come down to how much stress we have leading in to the break.  If we are overrun with stuff, then getting sorted for a trip may be too much.  If not, then who knows.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Good news

I have thus far forgotten to share with you the great news that Pompey, after a terrible couple of years being stitched up by a fairly large number of people who should not have passed the "Fit and Proper" FA test, has finally hit rock bottom, and is looking to start the upward descent.

The news is, as if I need to tell all you Pompey diehards, that the court case has managed to settle valuation of the ground, which the owner had thus far used to hold the club to ransom, setting it way above market value to a number that, in his mind, he is actually owed.  The court case has now determined the true value of the ground, or rather the threat of the final stage of the court case has forced the current owner to settle out of court, and so the Portsmouth Supporters Trust are now in a position to buy the ground, and also to then take over the running of the club.

We are the largest fan-owned club in the land, which may say more about the other fan-owned clubs than it does about Pompey, but what the heck, we are free, and hopefully can build the club, which has always been the heart and soul of its local community, in to something of which we can all be proud.  If they can build it based on sound financial principles, and build slowly and carefully avoiding any reckless acts, or any Nazi salutes, then I think we may just have turned a corner.

The road back up, if indeed we want and are able to go up, will be long and painful, but it will be a lot more fun to experience than the series of very painful downs that we have experienced since we won the FA Cup.

Actually, that sounds utterly absurd.  What the hell did we think we were doing winning the cup?  I guess the answer is there to see; we mortgaged, literally as well as figuratively, our future.

Let's hope that is all fully behind us, that all the skeletons have been found in all the cupboards, and that every step we take from this point on is forwards, and done with integrity and pride.

Over and out.

And . . relax

Don't have much to say today.  As someone in Yorkshire undoubtedly said, probably more than once, nowt to say, say nowt.

So, anyway, ignoring that advice, I think it is fair to say that I am glad it is Friday.  We have Brad and Angelina, plus Maggots, down for an overnight stay Saturday evening, and Brad and I will have a chance to discuss fishing, and my latest remixes, neither of which, and I have orders to this effect, can I be discussing Saturday night when David and Samantha are coming over also for dinner.  We will therefore cram it all in before they arrive.

Otherwise, it is a pretty standard weekend, albeit one without the usual Maggot activities, mostly because it is still Easter for the clubs, but also because Maggot 1 has decided that he no longer wants to play tennis. 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A couple of things of note

Two noteworthy things happened to me in the last twenty-four hours.  Firstly, a call from Mrs Scobi senior, aka my mother, to check with me a few facts about an upcoming purchase she plans to make.... of an iPad Retina.  This is, I hope, a turning point for self-determination and self-rule for Ma.  Years of "you couldn't just pop over, I have a problem with . . . " conversations may well be replaced by "Have you seen the latest Grinder app?" type conversations.  Well, maybe not Grinder, but hopefully she will be able to get to the web unhindered, do her email and banking, maybe make a couple of Skype calls and take a couple of photos, all without a plug, and sometimes even when she is in Spain, all on a device that will fit in her handbag (she being of the Maggie era when it comes to "sensible handbags"), and all on a device that will, fingers crossed, pretty much maintain and update itself.  If she can achieve that, then the last fifty years of technological advancement has not been in vain.

The second noteworthy event is that I clicked through a link on Golfy's blog, to an article that included the quote from an old classic film, a line I have used in one of my songs actually:

Years ago, my Mother used to say to me, she'd say "In this world Elwood, you must be..", she always called me Elwood. "In this world Elwood you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant." Well for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
-- Elwood P. Dowd (1950)
 Oh, and it was also nice to see the old "rhododendron tree" quote getting an airing.

Some of you, I suspect, may question the worthiness of the second note, but none of you, I am almost totally sure, will disagree with the first.  As Golfy often says, in fact will bang on about for hours and hours if you let him, "Apple just works".  I hope he is correct.

I am not blind to the suffering in the blogosphere either.  Golfy is under strain from ridiculousness in all three of the solutioning trilogy scope/timescale/cost target, all sprinkled with a healthy dose of management help; BadMan has a leak which is undoing a lot of very good work, and The Gorse Fox has a bad foot (something to which I can very much sympathise at this time, me having a bit of one myself).

Monday, 8 April 2013


This time of year we have a glut of birthdays.  Maggot 1 at the end of March, three of the four parents start of April, so it would be easy to get birthday'ed out.

However, one of these birthday celebrations was for my mum's 80th birthday.  We offered to host the party since we do, it has to be said with boasting or exaggeration, a lovely space for a party.  And so it was that around thirty-five oldies descended on Scobi Manor for the party.  The food was done by "Chef", who herself is eighty though acts a lot younger, and we were the first to say, since we were the first to see, that her spread of food was fantastic.  One slightly unusual item was a beetroot jelly, basically looks like a round jelly but made with beetroot and vinegar, and it was pretty unusual and very nice.  Otherwise it was really good grub designed with the "older eater" in mind, in as much as the choice was all stable favourites, so none of your new-fangled stuff, but neither was there prawn cocktail or cheese-on-a-stick.

Great fun was had by all, and even Ma Scobi, never one for overdoing things, may have raised a smile at one stage and also managed a short speech to thank those present.

We also had the pleasure of meeting "Gordon" - which was his real name actually, however it was always spoken in terms of "you know "Gordon" is coming don't you?" kind of terms.  He had been off to a Mason's convention, however once he heard that "Chef" was doing the food, he changed his plans and came here instead.  "Do you want a beer Gordon?" asked LO.  "What have you got?" he replied.  "Fosters", she responded.  "My favourite".  And thus many such Fosters did disappear down his gullet, no doubt adding to the slight red and bulbous "drinkers nose" he is developing.  I think it is fair to say that he was a very likeable rogue, who you would want to keep away from your daughters, and also would want to keep away from your liquour cupboard.  LO was rather taken with him and wound him up beautifully.

The food was so extensive that we were able to invite my sister's family and my parents over for lunch the next day, made entirely from leftovers.  In fact, all three parties have taken away various bits of the food for later consumption so as meals go, this one really has fed the masses, several times.

That was pretty much the weekend.  We have succumbed to the cheap drugs that are Dr Who and The Voice, the latter I am sure you should not declare liking in public, but what the hell, I am coming out the closet to declare that no-thinking TV is exactly what you want when you are in your onesies (the others, not me of course), even if the back-stories of dead nans was a little draining even for the 10 brain cells I had left switched on for the event.

It is now Monday, there is the promise of warmer weather, but with it wetter weather, so our third attempt at a day's fishing may still be cancelled, this time for rain rather than cold, there being a 65% rain risk with 51% confidence, if you can work that out.  Oh well, fourth time lucky.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Cold and bleak

I shouldn't be here, I should be on holiday.  We called it short due to the bleak coldness of the site we had chosen.  Usually, you can find at least one or two kind words to say about anywhere, but I cannot for the site we chose. It was bleak, grim and full of dodgy clientele, dodgy field electrics, cold shower blocks and even the club house, usually something that can fill at least one evening, was of a very low standard.  I have never tasted food like it, and I have eaten in a Little Chef and a Happy Eater, more than once actually, the second time an accident as I was looking for a false leg, but that is another story.

It was, in fact, so uninspiring, I forgot to take any picture, so have had to find one on the web. The picture below is fairly representative.

Note the salient points:
  • It is bloody flat*
  • the grass is all at forty-five degrees - that would be the wind
  • The scenery is, by any measure, without any features to make you smile, or even wince.
We did have a couple of good days out, mind.  The males of the group went go-carting, to the track where Jenson Button learnt his craft, as did Lewis Hamilton, although his association was some what more tenuous.
I have to say, I found my 20 minute drive in forty mile an hour carts absolutely thrilling.  I am a bigish chap, so the seat was very snug, but you need that coz the forces at play are pretty extreme.  I drive on the road with great caution, so was not sure I would very good at all that driving fast and close stuff, but I turned out to be an absolute animal, carving people up, cutting off their line, and bullying them to the inside line at every bend.  I cannot see any career in it for me, but the thrill of that speed just a few inches off the ground and, once courage had improved, taking the long fast bend with all four tyres sliding is something I shall remember for a while.  The Maggots loved it too, and were desperate to go again, but we agreed that too much carting makes a man feel prudent, and then goodbye to happiness.

We also have a lovely day in Canterbury, which due to it having some buildings, and very nice ones at that, was a bit less windy.  Canterbury Cathedral, even with a charge to enter, was an amazing building, and even had some Tudor connections, so we are able to chalk it up to another on the Tudor trail.

* so flat, in fact, that when they did trenches across fields, which they do a lot to aid water drainage, it being a marsh and all, anyway, when they dig trenches they have to put flashing lights on top of the mound of earth since its height would be a danger to flying craft.