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Friday, 27 May 2016


When we had our new extension done, about three years ago now, it included a slate floor.  This was, and is, beautiful, and we really love it.  The Maggots complain that it is not as soft as Nanny's carpet, but that's the kids of today for you, way too soft and don't know they're born.

One of the "features" of real stone flooring is that, from time to time, you need to re-seal it.  That time appears to be now.

The art of re-sealing can be learnt on the internet, since it is not particularly complicated.  You need the right treatments, and the right tools, of course, but mostly you just need to apply some back-breaking elbow grease*.

Step one is to fully and thoroughly clean it.  For this, I am using LTP Grimex.  This is a strong-smelling ammonia-based fluid, that you dilute down (the dirtier the floor, the more concentrated the mix) and apply with a scrubbing pad, leave for five minutes or so, agitate once more, then mop it off, before then using a wet 'n' dry hoover jobbie, ours is called George, to fully remove all trace of the Grimex.

You then leave it to dry for at least half a day, before you apply the sealer, which is step two.

This time we are going for a gloss finish, which is not the finish of choice for the majority, if the stocking level of our local supplier are any sign.  This gloss finish looks like diluted milk** that you sponge on, remove any excess bits so that you have applied a nice, even and thin layer of the sealant, and then you wait for about an hour before repeating the operation, for a total of three layers.

You can buy long handles with velcro pads on the bottom, to which you can attach the large brillo-like pads, but that seemed awfully expensive, and I was a bit concerned that being that far from the floor, you would not see what you had missed.  And so it is that I have done all this on my knees.  My back has been better, but no pain no gain, so onward and upward.

I am splitting the floor in to sections, and was up at 4.30am today to finish the study, utility and downstairs toilet area.  This is now done and looking fantastic.

Next phase is more tricky, since it is the main kitchen and living area.  We have David and Samantha over Saturday evening so I will leave things until Sunday at the earliest, but whatever I do, and whenever I do it, there will be inconvenience for the family.  I suspect this will mean doing it is a number of sections, so that the not-being-done sections can be used to store the table and sofa, and to give the Maggots and other wild beasts space to roam freely.

We also have a weekend of sport.  Tomorrow we have a football tournament, and on Sunday a cricket match.  The weather is looking fair to middling, so hopefully it will be as fun to watch as it is to play.

I hope you have a great weekend, speak next week.

* Never has a metaphor been more mangled
** Some people call this skimmed milk (and that is from a skimmed milk lover)

Thursday, 26 May 2016


Anyone who knows me at all, know that I like a website called  It has lots of tech and life advice, and today it had this:

One of the more balanced (high-level) discussions on the pros and cons of the upcoming EU "leave or remain" referendum.

I wonder how you guys are doing with your thinking on this vote?  I read GF, who said that every time he hears an argument for "remain", he leans towards "leave" and vice versa.  I can relate to that.

My overall observations are:

  • the remain camp have a bigger budget, and more "specialists" at their disposal than the leave camp, so are coming up with some high-powered and seemingly "respectable" sources for their remain arguments
  • It is a lot easier to argue the remain argument of "things ain't so bad, and they could be a lot worse" than the leave arguments, which seem to revolve around "we think if we make this big change, stuff will be better" and also "that last thing the remain camp said was bunkum"
  • I guess in essence it is hard to argue a negative
  • I am not overly convinced by anything that I have heard to date.

There was an interesting item on the radio this morning which gave an unusual angle on rights to work.  An Indian restaurant owner was talking about the fact that his chefs were Romanian, because they can move freely through the EU, whereas their preferred Bangladeshi or Indian chefs cannot get a visa to work here.

Another interesting thing that came across my desk recently was an email from my employer's senior management in the UK.  The tone of it, paraphrased, was "it is your decision, and whatever your personal decision, we do urge you to vote.  Some have asked what our advice would be, and it would be to remain".

I also saw a video of our US-based CEO who was being interviewed on a morning finance show about our Q2 results, and she was asked about the EU vote, and her view was that the UK is better in Europe.  So there you go.

Friday, 20 May 2016

The memories of a working man

A quick report on last weekend.  We had a football tournament in Worthing, starting at 2pm.  We all went.  The weather seemed quite warm when we left, but was just a little cooler at the destination*, though still warm enough when the sun was out, but not so when behind a cloud.

This was a tournament that falls under the category of "least said, soonest forgotten".  We were in a league of five teams, with only the top team going through to the semi-finals.  This meant we played four games.  We lost all four, and did not score a single goal.  We were trying out our new keeper, who is probably "a lovely bloke***", but is not likely to be our keeper next year (so our search goes on).  To be fair, we did not play badly, but neither did we play well, and we lost three of the four games to sucker punch chip and rush goals, which tend to be the modus operandi for such tournaments, not that we ourselves take advantage of the tactic.  This chip and rush tactic makes them dull and frustrating games to watch and play.  It has made me hanker for proper nine-a-side games, thirty minutes each half. i.e. next season.

On the Sunday, we had another tournament, this one more of a fun day, since it was the Barnham Trojans prize giving day, which incorporates a fun tournament, mixing years and players up in to a bunch of teams.

Maggot 2's year mixed in with the Under Nines, and I ended up managing a team, Swansea to be precise.  I had a couple of good players, and plenty of bad players.  We had no keeper, though luckily we had three, count them, one, two, three, players who "regularly play in goal".  Hmm.  Let's just say that they were also "lovely blokes" and also unlikely to be filling our missing keeper position.  We did not do terribly, but did not progress to the semi-finals.  Maggot 2's team did, and won on penalties, only to lose in the final.

It was a good fun day, with fairly good weather.  I had a go on the "how hard can you kick the ball" game, which has a speed camera type device at the end of the inflatable net cage, and I managed to score 64 which was the fastest of the day, until "Darren" (damn him) beat me with a 65.  What was most gratifying was that A and S, our two coaches, were unable to get near my 64.  The old fella still has it.

This weekend, we have a tournament Saturday afternoon (with rain threatened), and nothing Sunday, so we should be having the outlaws over for Sunday lunch, which is always fun.

On that note, I hope you have a great weekend, and speak next week.

P.S.  Good luck to Bad Man on his search for a new role, looks like it is going well.

* As we all know, Scobi Towers sits in a perfect micro-climate that is, most of the time, similar to the South of France**
** OK, that is a slight exaggeration
*** An old story, for those who do not recall it, that an ex-colleague, also my mentor in my early years in Starfleet, used that phrase to describe people where were lovely, but useless, and it has stuck with me

Friday, 13 May 2016


There is a lot of football in my life at the moment.  As it is the closed season for Maggot 2, we have, instead of weekly league games, weekly tournaments.  In terms of time, a league game runs four around an hour, whereas a tournament can be all day.  So it is that this weekend we will be at two, yes, count them, two tournaments.  Saturday is in Worthing, 2pm to 6pm, and on Sunday it is at our own ground, registration at 8.30am, and likely to last all day, because it is combing a tournament and prize giving.

As if that is not enough, my chosen football team, once the biggest South Coast team, these days not so much, had its first play off match last night.  Two legs of football, the winner overall going to Wembley for the final.  Last night we drew 2-2 at home, which is not the best result, but is an improvement on our previous game at home to our opponents.  As it happens, both us and them have a better away record, in general, and specifically against each other, so the second leg on Sunday should be a humdinger of a game.

If we were to win, or rather when we win, and we are therefore in the final, I plan to try and get tickets.  It is not every day, nor even every year, that you have the chance to see your local team playing at Wembley, so I hope to go, just so I can tell my grandchildren about it (in nauseating detail if my memory will allow).

On other news, I am not sure I have mentioned yet that Brad and Angelina have joined the hallowed ranks of mobile home owners.  They have just bought a campervan, in time for our yearly trip to Riverside Lakes, a most magnificent natural site which allows open fires, and has three lakes, all fishable, and a multitude of wooded and long-grass areas.  They have been threatening to buy one for a wee while, and have now been and gone and done it.  I cannot wait to see it.

Finally, it is with great happiness that I can announce that Bad Man is back in the blogging business.  He has presumably overcome his challenges, and is back behind the keyboard.  It has made me realise quite how I have missed knowing the intimate details of his lawnmower regimen.  And before you write in to complain about my sarcasm, please be aware that BM himself was the first to poke fun at himself.  It is great to have him back, and I see he has added bees to his small-holding.

Friday, 6 May 2016

That was quick

I love Bank Holiday Mondays (I know GF, every day is a BH for you), because what follows is a four-day week.  And so I get to Friday much quicker than usual.

This week has been fairly steady at work.  Down to one deal for now, and some system testing for a major new system being implemented for my clan.  For some this may be seen as another change to something that works okay, but as a newbie, it is all very exciting.  I actually think there are some profound and well-crafted changes afoot that will make the role more fun, and less drudge, and I say hooray to that.

At home, we have a busy weekend ahead of us.  Maggot 1 has his first cricket match (and only after his second cricket practice tonight) on Sunday at West Chiltington, and I am taking him to that.  Maggot 2 has a football tournament over in Shoreham, and LO is taking him to that.  Once the cricket is over, I plan to head over to the football to see the second half of their games.  Depending on how well they do, it may be even more than that.  It is a five-a-side tournament and we have only five players, one having dropped out because "we don't have a proper keeper".  It is true that we are looking for a new keeping, the old one, who was the best in the league, deciding that he (or is it his parents doing the deciding) does not want to play in goal any more, but on pitch, ideally as a striker.  Unfortunately he is not currently up with the pace; he is petulant, he does not track back and he is prone to histrionics if he feels he has been impeded unfairly.  None of this sits well with the rest of us, and he may find he is the main sub going forward, since at the moment his standard is not high enough.

Anyway, enough of our goalie problem, we also have a player problem, as already mentioned, in that they are refusing to play because of our lack of goalie (Maggot 1's friend, let's call him Limpy, has a bad foot so is going to play in goal, and he is OK), which is not endearing him to the other parents.

To be honest, the dad has a bit of history of this, having previously tried to start a new team around his son, with the hope of attracting away the best players from our team.  Luckily, the other players were not that keen, and the FA closed him down too, so that went nowhere.

What I am learning from all this is that there is a lot of politics in children's football, and memories tend to be long.  Luckily, I am slow and too dumb to notice, so can enjoy my football watching without any interference.

Have a great weekend, and speak next week.