Thursday, November 30, 2006


Dear Sarah,
Remember this,
A picture from the past.

This time now gone,
More than friends,
Lovers, in each others arms.

Dear Sarah,
Remember this,
Music from last year.

Dancing in the dark,
Taking time to care,
To hold each other tight.

Dear Sarah,
Remember this,
And, in the future,


Haven, dreams;
Where minds can climb
Safe from harm,
Admire beauty
Of waters clear,
Smell scent
Of autumn months,
Lie, sleep beneath great trees
With fallen leaves to cushion me.

But, more, to rest,
To be with you,
To never leave your side,
Within this harbour
From reality.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Currently Listening to ...

OK, now I am feeling guilty. Because, of course, Snow Patrol isn't the only thing I am listening to. So I now feel a traitor to all those other wonderful groups.

The Dixie Chicks for instance. They stood up for what they believed in. They apologised for Bush (and ref my Slavery blog, yes Bush is something that can be apologised for as it is here, now, and the americans voted him in). For that they were ostracised. They received death threats. They were told that they would never get air time again. What did they do, they wrote "Not Ready To make Nice". Check out those lyrics for punch. The guts to stand up for their principles and the talent to turn it into an incredible album.

The new - Daniel Powter, McFly

The quirky - The Dear Janes (check out their incredibly weird website), Alan Parsons Project, Cowboy Junkies

The folk - Juliet Turner

Or the oldies - Jethro Tull, Chris Rea (and I know my "Stainsby Girl"), Elvis Costello, Eurythmics, The Jam, Runrig

and so many more. I don't listen to one thing. Ecletic.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Currently Listening to .....

Snow Patrol - Eyes Open

Someone who knows me very well recommended this to me. And she was right. I absolutely love this album. The lyrics are so powerful:

"Strain this chaos turn it into light I've got to see you one last night Before the lions take their share Leave us in pieces, scattered everywhere
Just give me a chance to hold on "

"Those three words Are said too much They're not enough
If I lie here If I just lay here Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
Forget what we're told Before we get too old To show me a garden that's bursting into life "

"Somehow everything I own smells of you And for the tiniest moment it's all not true
Do the things that you always wanted to Without me there to hold you back, don't think, just do
More than anything I want to see you go Take a glorious bite out of the whole world "

Some albums are good for the "now". They soon fade. I believe that Snow Patrol go past this, I believe that these songs will be in peoples heads for a long time, because the lyrics are raw and striking, the music itself sinks into your core and begs to have the volume turned up one more notch so you can feel the notes penetrating your body.

And to cap it all, written in a cottage that had been used by Kate Bush. Now that is a cottage that obviously has the power to inspire.

If you haven't yet heard this album, go buy it.

Work can be relaxing

After a hectic couple of months at work today has been an oasis. Rather an inauspicious start with the hotel last night. Holiday Inn Express, Droitwich - reception smelling of stale urine, hairs on the bathroom floor (I will not enter into further detail but let your minds think about that), and people smoking in both the drinking and eating areas.

Anyway, improved today. I like to spend some time on the road with vets when I can, not often enough usually, but after three years of trying I finally managed to arrange some time with a horse vet I wanted to chat to. It is a bit like being a vet student again, have to open the farm gates and things, sit in the passenger seat, watch but not get in the way. But all well worth while. We had a really good chat and this vet was full of wonderful ideas of how we, as a pharmaceutical company, can work with practitioners and continue to move animal health forward.

Definitely a good day.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Take me, take me now
To a different world
Swim me through oceans
Fly me through skies
Change my colours
Turn my trees to violent blue
My seas to red
My clouds, scarlet
Change my touch
Make pebbles my pillows
Thorns my clothes
Change my sounds
My taste
Change my all

Take me now


After the last post maybe I should lighten the mood slightly.

One of the reasons that pushed us to getting the conservatory was that the back door needed replacing. The lock was giving out and the door could often be closed only with a bit of slamming and a lot of swearing. So we now have nice sliding doors leading from the ex-dining room to the conservatory. These doors are basically two big panes of glass, and offer an unrestricted view to the outside.

The other advantage is that the conservatory now joins the house to the garage. No longer a need to go out in the rain when taking washing to the washing machine. Excellent.

So a few days ago I needed a drill. I went out through the doors in to the garage. Found the drill, took a bit of time, filing system not perfect (maybe I shouldn't have destroyed the cabinet yesterday). Walked back to the house. I suspect many of you are ahead of me at this point. Load bang, sore nose (thankfully not bleeding). My wife had walked passed while I was in the garage and decided to close the sliding door. I didn't even notice and walked straight into it. I should add that my wifes main concern was the state of the new doors.

Have you seen those bird silhouettes to protect birds from flying in to windows? Do you know where I can get a person silhouette?


Before I get in to trouble with this post I want to make it very, very clear that I think the slave trade was a very bad thing and that Britain has nothing to be proud of as far as this is concerned.

That said, do I think I can apologise for the actions of my ancestors? Do I believe that Tony can? I am afraid not. I can say that I am sorry, and I am, but that is not apologising for the actions of others. The bible may say that the sins of the fathers will be visited upon their sons, but even so we can't speak for what others did.

An apology cannot change what happened. It can't change the course of the world. I believe this of the slave trade, I believe this of the actions of Japan during the war, of the Germans, of Americans against the Sioux. They have happened, they are the past, and the people who are guilty can no longer be touched.

If we are to apologise for the actions of our fathers and their fathers then when should we stop. Do we stop at what one country did to another? Why there? Surely clan fought clan, tribe fought tribe, family fought family. At some point if we looked far enough back I am sure my family probably did something against yours, even if it was hitting an ancestor over the head with a jawbone. If they did then I, personally, am sorry. Doesn't make them wish they had put down the jawbone though.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mag meet File, File meet Mag

Alex decided she wanted a day at home. Fair enough, she has been rather busy the last few days. Gave me a chance to do a few things around the house. We had a filing cabinet upstairs that we no longer wanted. It proved a bit to heavy to move. So taking it apart seemed a good idea. First I tried brains, looked for screws to undo, bits that could be unclipped. Not very successful. So then I went for brawn. If you don't have access to a sledge hammer then a 5 cell MagLite can come in handy and I just hit the cabinet til it gave up. Quite rewarding actually. But I am not going to let on who I was thinking of.

Pie Time

You Are Pumpkin Pie

You're the perfect combo of uniqueness and quality
Those who like you are looking for something (someone!) special
Some things on the net are just weird. I quite like doing some of the surveys, but who on earth writes them? And at least being a Pumpkin Pie is better than being a Paladin.


While I was having a pleasant day in London yesterday, things were not going as well on the pitch.

As we were sitting down to our dinner I received a text from my father saying the Wales vs All Blacks match had been bad (my parents were there). I emailed back asking how bad. "Bloody bad" was the only answer. Yes, 45-10 may well qualify for that description. Wales were apparently "gritty". Gritty just isn't enough. The disagreement over the haka may not have been a good start and, as a spectator, I would not have been happy to have missed what is a fantastic and awe-inspiring thing to see.

So on the train could I gain solace from anywhere? Two people had obviously been to the England match so I asked how that had gone. England 14 South Africa 25. Having been 14-3 up at one point, England then proceeded to throw it away. And this against a weakened South Africa. So much for the great turn around heralded by the previous victory.

And how about the Ashes. After we had won them so well over here, how do we continue to fair down there. Can't tell you. I didn't even dare turn on the radio this morning to find out. It was going so badly that I prefer not to know. We have too many Aussies at work and they are just going to be unbearable come Monday.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Cafe Culture

One coffee
A cafe
Barcelona street
Blur surrounds
Thoughts, my thoughts.

She moved
Almost missed
So nearly missed
But distracted
I glanced
Glance turned to more
I forgot
Forgot my hunger
Forgot my cold
Forgot my why.

Watched until gone
I moved
Coffee spilled.

Science Museum

Thanks to a corporate day we spent the afternoon at the Science Museum. Akzo Nobel are corporate sponsors so a couple of times a year special days are put on for any staff to attend. Great fun, although Alex was very tired by the time we got her to bed, 2245 hrs as opposed to her normal time of 1930 hrs. She got to take part in the telling of the three little pigs (she was pig number 2, seen in the photos showing off her house of wood, then after the wolf had blown it down), and then enjoyed the bubble show. We were able to then spend another two hours wandering around before the museum closed and we went and found something to eat.

At four years old she does have a wonderful way of expressing herself. At one point she said she "no longer likes boys, I am only interested in girls". I am sorry, no matter what I believe about peoples sexual rights that isn't the kind of comment a father likes to hear from his daughter. Then later I said I was going to be staying in a hotel on Monday night and she said "Are you staying with Miss M.....?" As Miss M..... is her teacher I am not sure if I or my wife was the more surprised. And I am not quite sure how pleased Miss M..... will be either!


Have you seen the ad showing the BMW with the HUD? I mean, come on, an HUD in a car, wonderful. I saw the ad and my reaction was simply "I want one of those". Possibly my wifes comment was then one of the great indicators of the difference between men and women. There I am saying "wow" and my wife just says "isn't that dangerous." Attempts to explain that an HUD can't be dangerous because fighter pilots use them seem to go unheard. In fact, I believe the look I got could be translated something along the lines of "you ain't no fighter pilot".

The one problem is that this technology comes in a beamer. I just can't have a beamer. I know I will upset a few people but there seems to be an inherent need to forget the Highway Code if you buy a BMW. In fact it wouldn't surprise me to find out that when they take your money then they also make you sign a contract saying that wherever possible you will try to run someone off the road, you will never give way to someone, you will always park so that you occupy two spaces, and not to use your indicators.

BMWs are, of course, known as beamers. Doesn't half cause some confusion at work though. Someone came up to me and asked to borrow my beamer. I hesitated and then explained I have a Mazda 6 (excellent car by the way). The look on his face made it obvious that I had lost him. We looked at each other for a moment, then the light dawned and he said "no, beamer, you know, the data projector".

Friday, November 24, 2006

Chapter meeting

An enjoyable night last night. There was a banner dedication ceremony at my Chapter in Northampton and my father came down to attend as well.

"Chapter" is the term for the Royal Arch Masonry, a side order of Freemasonry (or "the blue"). We had an excellent turn out for what was a unique event. Although Lodges have banners, Chapters generally do not. However an annual Grand Chapter meeting is held "under the banner" of a local Chapter. One of our members thought this strange as we did not have a banner so he set the wheels in motion a few years ago, and this culminated last night with the Northampton Chapter 360 banner being unveiled.

I have had a poor year for attendance at Chapter. Meetings have always clashed with trips abroad for work so this is the only one I have made. Luckily everyone has been very understanding and I have been asked to be Chief Steward next year. This means I have to keep track of who is coing to the meal after the meetings, make sure I get money from everyone and arrange the seating plan. Should help keep me out of mischief.


A moment in this space
A moment I may touch you
A moment when the world

Moments are too fleeting
Too short to feel
But they are all
We can ever see.

The past, the future
Indecipherable, unknown
This moment, the moment
Missed in the heart beat.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


We live in a world which, even if you don't believe in "evil", you have to admit is a fairly bad place. Wars (no other way to describe them, sorry Tony and George) in Iraq and Afghanistan, religious and racial intolerance widespread, declining education, health service on its knees, increasing debt.

So I am not too happy to hear that a Liberal MP is tabling an early day motion about the noise from mobile phones. Yes they can be annoying, but there are more important things and our taxes are paying these people to discuss their own little pet gripes whilst the world falls apart.

It was like all the fuss about fox hunting. I admit I am a country lad, many of my friends enjoyed fox hunting, but I have never done it myself. I am neither for or against fox hunting. I just think that a lot of time was wasted on producing a bill, which has proved unworkable, just in order that the government can be popular. Real politics is not about being popular, real politics is about doing the right things and making the world a better place. Too many MPs are caught in the limelight.

I think I might have to go out and buy a new ring tone, a really really really annoying ring tone.

Cloud Atlas

Finished reading Cloud Atlas. Usual thing, once I start reading then other things I should be doing fall by the wayside. Now have to catch up with the lines I am supposed to be learning.

Anyway, finished it last weekend, and I did promise a review. This may be slightly difficult to do without giving away too much.

Six lives interwoven. Not as one story but six separate stories that hold together leading from the 1800's to a post-apocalyptic world.

Is it for everyone? I suspect not. There are times when you think you will never know the final outcome for a character. There are times when the way it is written need some real concentration. 10 times when your mind has to shift to a different place and, more importantly, a different pace. It can be hard to work out who the hero is, is it everyone or no-one. And are the links real or just a clever contraption to keep you engaged. At times it even makes you feel like you got the sucker punch.

But I enjoyed it. I wanted to know what was going to happen next, how it was going to unfold. When I twigged how it was going to loop back it made me want to continue. To follow the ride and see what it was trying to say. I don't think that the method worked completely, and I didn't feel it ended at the right place. The post-apocalypse borrow heavily from Aldous Huxley, and Timothy Cavendish was a particularly weak character, rather unlikeable. But possible being unlikeable was the point. it had me interested enough that I had to check back on other parts of the story to see why memories were triggered.

If you like depth to you books then give this a try. If you like rounded edges, no snags for your mind to get caught on, then avoid.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Batman Begins

I have just finished watching Batman Begins. OK, I know it has been out for a long time, but the last batman films were putting me off, they were just getting too comicy. This returns to what batman is about, dark exploration of the mind. Much more subtle.

Some of you may be laughing now. Comics are just for kids aren't they. And in some cases you are right. Superman, Spiderman etc. But some are much darker, contain a lot more. Batman is one of those, so is Grendel, Cerebus, even Usagi Yojimbo. These look at the depth of what drives us and can confront us. Don't be fooled by the fact they are called comics. I admit that towards the end Dave Sim starts loosing the plot with the Cerebus series, his hatred of women becomes too much and distorts the message he is trying to make, but the earlier analysis of religion and politics is enlightening.

Batman Begins finds that edge. No Arnie to get in the way, but a look at vengeance and the way fear can shape us. Not a happy ending but a real one.

London Olympics

And did you hear that the London Olympics are going to be a little bit over budget. Well, little bit, what's £1 billion between friends. How, just how, do they manage to get it out by that much. I could understand £100, to be honest I might even be able to understand £10,000. But one billion. what happened, did they forget to factor in the lunches?


The Bedford constabulary have a new toy to play with. It's a fingerprint scanner that can be used at the side of the road. Now I am not completely adverse to the idea, I know there is a lot of worry about the amount of surveillance but I had my car stolen two years ago, I am happy to see things that may tighten up on crime. I was rather interested in the explanation though. Apparently it is not compulsory to allow them to scan you. However if you don't let them then they can arrest you! It may not be compulsory but I would say the coercion is pretty effective!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


A friend told me that there is more to life than conservatories. She is probably right. However, as I mentioned that I was having one built it only seems right that you should see the before and after.

I reckon that's a great conservatory. Gives so much extra space. Well chuffed.
Possibly one minor problem. After the New Year we are planning on getting two new cats (Paddington had to be put down the Christmas before last and I miss him, in fact although my daughter was only two she misses him too). Thought ahead, asked the builders to fit a cat flap. From the inside it is great, just the right height off the floor. However, look closely at the wall of the conservatory, to the left. Yes you can see the cat flap. The ground falls away dramatically in our garden so the flap from the outside is rather high. Might have to issue the cats with climbing gear!

My daughter has enjoyed having the workment around. Not entirely sure that they have enjoyed her attention though, a tad distracting maybe. She has decided that it is good to give people things and seems convinced that workmen need sweets. Every two minutes she would take a bowl of sweets and offer it to them (I should say she doesn't actually eat many herself). The first time they accept. The second time they accept. By the third time you can tell they really don't want another toffee. By the sixth time, well a look of resignation has usually passed over their face by then.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Welsh Dragon Sausages

OK, did you see the title and think "oh good, always wanted sausages made of dragon meat"? Did you wonder how they go about catching the dragons to turn into sausages? Did you think that it was a good idea but you'd prefer english dragon sausages? I suspect none of those. Because I also suspect that you guessed that this was a brand name. But not the trading standards people. Oh no, they are worried that people may be confused, that they may buy them thinking that they contain dragon meat. So the manufacturers have to rename the sausage to avoid confusion. In an attempt to make the ruling seem more appropriate the trading standards appear to now be taking another line, which is that without "pork" or "beef" in the name then vegetarians may be fooled into mistakenly eating the sausages. Oh yes, and last time I checked dragons were definitely associated with all things vegetarian!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I am not a great follower of brands. There are only a few things I will buy because of a name, usually I look into the fine detail. One make I will stick with is Canon for cameras, another is Epson for printers. Practical kind of stuff. But I have one fashion weakness, Oakleys sunglasses. It used to be Gargoyles but about 10 years ago I changed over. Now I won't buy anything else. I recently bought a pair of Oakley Spikes and I am very pleased with them. I bought them because the nose piece fell off my half jackets which was a tad annoying. I did try to give them to my daughter but she wouldn't have them because they were broken (rather fussy for 4 years old I thought but hey). I have been loathe to throw them and I suddenly had a thought. I rang the Oakleys UK people and explained the problem. You know what they did, they kindly put a new set in the post to me (nosepieces not half jackets that is) for absolutely no charge. Well, they just bought further loyalty.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Smart Paladin

55% Combativeness, 33% Sneakiness, 61% Intellect, 66% Spirituality

Valorous! Noble! Or possibly just a self-righteous jerk (but with the brains to keep you alive!)... You are a Smart Paladin! Paladins are holy warriors. They are valorous defenders of the light. Unfortunately, most of them are so ardent in their defense they tend to meet sticky ends faster than you can say "rampaging red dragon." Many people look up to Paladins, while others just consider them stuck up, overbearing, or self-righteous. Fortunately for you, unlike most Paladins, you're pretty smart. Which means that you're more likely to fall into the "admired" category, rather than the "obnoxious" or "dead" categories. Much like the crusades, you manage to combine violence and religion, though unlike the crusades, you add a healthy does of intelligence. You may be a staunch defender of the faith, a valorous champion of the weak, or the stuff that jihads are made of. Which ever one you are, just be happy that you’ve got the smarts to back it up and make it work.

Rather surprised with this. I really didn't think I would be a paladin (and whenever I have actually played RPG games a paladin is the last class I would pick) but according to this test - The RPG Class Test - a paladin is what I am. I grew up playing AD&D, rather to the scorn of my parents, and I still enjoy RPG games on the computer, including things like Everquest (although not currently playing any). I would almost always end up a Ranger, although I have been the occassional Thief (in game only I promise). I have always thought paladins a bit too likely to go storming in without thinking through the problem first. Brains can usually overcome brawn.

Friday, November 17, 2006


She asked me to be her knight
In shining armour.
I looked,
My armour was rusty,
My horse out to grass,
My blade lay dull
And my shield too torn.

How could I be
Her knight
When I couldn't even be
A pawn

Poet to the Ashes

Did you hear that the Arts Council are spending £7000 to send a poet to the ashes tour? Now, don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against the theory. Poetry is art, and there is no difference in spending on a poet or a painter. But I heard some of his poetry on Radio 4 this morning. I actually don't think too much of my own poetry, I suspect it is too angst ridden, and it certainly doesn't soar as I would like it to but even my meagre writings are better than what I heard today. It was painful to listen to. And that is what I am unhappy about, if they are going to spend £7k then at least make it on a good poet.

From trains to a Spooky Car

Some people leave their car in neutral, some leave it in gear. Me, well I am a neutral person. ALways have been. Just a fact of life. Finish work tonight, come out, get in the car, turn the key and "chunk". That, by the way, is the sound of a car in gear jerking forward as the ignition is turned. OK, I am a bit surprised. Maybe I just wasn't fully awake this morning. Turn the key again and the car starts. Strangely the radio doesn't come on. I listen to Radio 4 when I am driving so surprised the radio isn't on. Turn it on, static. Strange, should be tuned. Press the number 4, still static. Stranger, all the presets have cancelled. Look at the car clock, it registers one o'clock (no I didn't finish work early, it was 1830 hrs). Look at the mobile phone that I had left in the car, it is two hours fast.

Explain all that then. Battery was fine in the car (started with ease). Car had been locked. I tell you, spooky.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Trains (again)

No, sorry, doesn't work, definitely not a stress free way to travel. Of the 5 trains I have caught in the last 72 hours or so only one of them has run on time. That is not a good record. Looking at the watch and trying to calculate how late the train is and, therefore, how much time that leaves to get the connection doesn't help the old nerves. Stations seem to lack decent information on which platform the train will arrive at and the people in uniforms (and therefore I believe are the ones working there) do not inspire confidence when telling you where the next train will arrive. On the way back told to change at Wigan instead of Birmingham New Street ("much better for you sir"), then told to change again at Rugby ("just as good as going to Milton Keynes sir"). Have you been to Rugby train station! Bleak, desolate, I swear I saw tumbleweed, and then find that the next train in isn't for an hour and going to Milton Keynes would actually have been half an hour quicker.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Just been told off. You see I managed to discover that "The Library" seems to be a good spot for wi-fi. Better than my room anyway because I keep loosing the connection. Well a very "interesting" chap (sorry best way to describe him) has told me that computers aren't allowed to be used in here. Spoils the tranquility. I look around. Hmm, only seem to be spoiling my tranquilty. Don't think I will argue the point though. It is a good thing to be reminded that we can get live without these things every once in a while. Back to my book I think.

Definitely Holyrood

This afternoon a cross-party meetng at the Scottish Parliament. Have you ever been there? I don't know how it cost to build and I don't want to know. It is a horrible building. Badly lit, dark, tunnels rather than corridors, concrete blocks for walls, meeting rooms with terrible acoustics. Did someone once use the word carbuncle to describe a building? Well at the time he did I don't think that the Scottish Parliament had been built but I reckon he shot his bolt too early. Generally I miss living in Scotland, but I am glad that my tax didn't go to this.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Holyrood or Holywood!

On the plus side, staying at the MacDonald Holyrood. Now I like MacDonald hotels. They are good. Especially when you get upgraded to the executive floor which can only be accessed by a special card that has to be put in a slot in the lift otherwise you can't get there. Nice people, would like to see me downstairs for a drink later. Oh yes, and don't bother coming all the way downstairs tomorrow morning, have breakfast in "The Library" (and for any Greenbelt Ops, not that kind of library) which is on your floor, just for you. Now was that Holyrood or Holywood!


You know those mornings when you wake up just knowing that whatever decision you make it will be the wrong one. Yeah well! I had to travel up to Edinburgh today. I have known this for weeks (actually months but who's counting). Been a bit distracted with other things so hadn't got around to planning. So I woke up with the possibility of flying, driving or the train. Chose the train. Whoops. Very packed, people even standing in First Class. Got in 45 minutes late. They shut the buffet car because they didn't have anyone to man it (like how does that happen, "Oh dear, just noticed we have a buffet car on this train, that wasn't expected"). Someone kindly (! their words) stood in and helped but needed exact change. And in the little brochure thing by my seat it had the nerve to say "travel by train, avoid the hassle of flying or driving". I might have words with old Richard.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Currently Drinking ....

A bottle of Finca Munoz 2004 Chardonnay, Limited Release. Described as full, with smooth peach and ripe orange flavours, rich and complex. Sounds wonderful. Minor problem, I also have had a home-made salsa tonight. As well as vine ripened tomatoes, onion, fresh basil, fresh coriander, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar I added a green chilli and some Tabasco sauce. Lovely salsa. Unfortunately no way my palate was going to be able to make out the subtleties of a fine wine.


OK, so you might call it girly. I don't care. I am confident enough in my masculinity, and in touch enough with my femininity, that I am happy enough to do something some may raise an eyebrow at. And before speculation gets completely out of hand, today I spent the day at Whittlebury Hall Spa (you might have seen Whittlebury on TV last week as it is where the celebs for "The Race" were staying, now wasn't that a lame idea for a programme, two failed grand prix drivers (sorry guys but really you are) trying to get "C" list celebs to drive quickly) . Two product launches in almost as many months and I needed a break. So on a whim at the beginning of last week I booked myself in. Actually not quite a whim as I am trying to go every 6-8 weeks, but I suddenly felt it was time. Not only did I get to use the heat and ice experience (there is an ice cave which is wonderful, bucket of ice, grab handfulls, rub over body) but also a full body massage. Now feel very relaxed.

Now Reading ...

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Review to follow once read. Normally this would not take too long but I do need to learn some work for my next Lodge meeting and I should concentrate on learning rather than reading.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thirty Minute Service

Our local church has introduced a 30 minute service. On the second Sunday each month they have a short service for families with children. All very relaxed, doesn't matter if the children make a noise, they get to join in with things and generally it is good fun. Couldn't help but smile today when the first song started as someone brought out boxes full of drums, tambourines, triangles and other noisy instruments. The children dived on them and soon the room was a cacophony. I smiled because it reminded me of Greenbelt Ops weekends and I just knew how S would have been loving it while L would have been trying to hide all the instruments down the back of a sofa!


So England slump to a defeat by Argentina. The first time Argentina have beaten them at Twickers. I remember going to seeing the Pumas at Twickers when I was 10 or 11. In those days Argentina were a rated side, recently they have slumped but it looks as though they are on the way back. Anyway this sounds as though it was a terible defeat. And no prospect of Jonny Wilkinson returning to save the country.

I have to admit that I can't gloat that much, at least Wales won but, in all honesty, a loss against the Pacific Islanders would have been even worse than the recurrent losses against Western Samoa during which ever World Cup you like to think of (a slight exagerration maybe, but only slight). And to really keep my feet on the ground Cardiff lost to Ebbw Vale 19-21, ten minutes before the end Cardiff were winning 19-9 then they just threw it away.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Windmill Hill

On Windmill Hill
The raven swoops
His calling, croaking
Beckoning me to join
To let my mind
Rise above the grass
To spread my wings
And feel the wind



Take this moment
Grasp it
Hold it

Future too masked
Hidden hole
(Hidden whole)

This is awake
Pain and all
To be alive


I used to write a lot of poetry. Over ten years ago now since I have written anything. A few bits were OK and actually were published in poetry magazines. It would be quite nice to start again. So I am going to try and you, unlucky readers, will get subjected to it.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Home Again

Gosh, it's nice to get home. Even if there are 666 emails waiting for me (true number, slightly scary). I stayed for the first three races, lost a small amount of money then decided it was time to leave. I wanted to get home before my daughter goes to bed. As it is she and mum aren't in, I seem to remember that they were going to MK to see the Christmas deccies. And as I type they are pulling up so off I go ......

Thursday, November 09, 2006

English language

Have you noticed how it is no longer "english" but "english (american)"? We are the ones who invented the b.....y language. Where does this "american" come from. As far as I can see american means putting "z" where there should be an "s" and other incongruous mistakes. English is english, let's keep it that way.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mobile Phones

OK, I know mobile phones are often victims of a rant, but they are just so annoying. Not because of other peoples phones ringing and disturbing the peace. Because reception is so bad. In the middle of England my phone can't hold a line when I am in the car. Maybe it is T-Mobile and I should have gone with a different server. But T-Mobile did provide the Motorola RZR with i-tunes (which is just cool, and a lovely red colour as well). But I find mobiles irritating in the extreme. I want to use them when I am travelling, moving from one place to another, but I seem most of the time on trains or in the car realising that I have been talking to thin air and having to redial. I hate technology when it is almost, but not quite, useful.

Monday, November 06, 2006

West Wing

I love the West Wing. I started watching it when it was first broadcast but with moving house I lost track. So I have been renting it from Amazon. At the end of last week the first DVD of the second series arrived and we sat down to watch it. Unfortunately it kept skipping and we finally had to judge it unwatchable. I won't give away what happens at the end of series one/beginning of series two in case you haven't seen it, but this isn't a good time to find you can't keep watching. Frustration abounds. This morning a new DVD arrived from Amazon. Great excitment at being able to watch the replacement DVD. Got dinner ready, opened the DVD, only to find that it wasn't the West Wing but 24. Now I have been wanting to watch 24 for ages as I missed it on TV, hence on the rental list, but it wasn't what I was wanting tonight. "Hells Kitchen" in the end instead.

Where did it go?

In to work at 0800 hrs as normal. Finished at 1830 hrs, also relatively normal. When I go in to the office I like to miss rush hour so it easier to arrive early, finish late. So that is ten and a half hours isn't it. Minus 45 minutes for lunch. Down to nine and three quarters then. So why can't I remember what I actually did today. Slightly worrying. Just in case any bosses read this, I promise it was worth while, whatever IT was.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Firework Night

It is always good to keep a bit of the child in us no matter how old we are. Fireworks are like that for me. Watching them with other people I may try to make the "oooo"s and "aaahh"s sound sarcastic but every so often I know that one will have sounded completely real. I can't help it, a decent firework with lots of colour and lots of noise will always get my admiration.
Last night we had the Support Team firework party. Thanks completely to Zippie and D, I simply turn up with J and A in tow, bringing some fireworks and wine. And I have to admit that although my fireworks had a 25 metre rating, they were not the best. That accolade goes to the titanium spiders which almost everyone seemed to want to claim credit for but, in the end, I think belonged to Squeak and Handbag. It would be completely wrong to think that my daughter is trying to set light to Handbag because his fireworks were better than ours.
The Support Team is the group Zippie and I manage (in a very loose sense of the word) at Greenbelt. They are a great group to work with and we strive to have a good team morale. Zippie has organised the firework party for the last couple of years and last night we had McVicar, Teflon, Handbag, Squeak, Sweetcorn, Guilty, DooDah there amongst others. As you can tell from the names we aim to be very grown up about everything. Anyway it was a good night to let our hair down, remember stories from this and other years, and generally have a good laugh. Stories range from the difficulty some people have getting in Defenders, through those of us who have eaten stolen goods, include the finding of frogs in coffee cups in lifts, and may also cover people being sent to the Helicopter Field (now rechristened the "Naughty Field"). Well it makes sense to us anyway.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Sometimes, thankfully only sometimes, there isn't a right thing to do. Life presents you with choices where neither path has a happy ending. It just shouldn't be like that.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

"Dear Charlie"

Programmes should come with "Emotional level" warnings. Driving back from Norwich I was listening to Radio 4, as I often do. O good I thought, Book of the Week. So this week is a book called "Dear Charlie", hadn't heard it at all this week but I don't mind dropping in to the middle, I can usually pick it up. Well, this book should have come with an emotion warning. I am not given to high emotion generally but we all know that we can be caught unawares. And recently one thing that has managed to catch me almost without fail is stories about fathers losing daughters or vice versa. And this particular story is exceptional, letters written by a father to his 13 year old daughter who was killed by a train. This is a true story by the way. I am not going to be able to listen tomorrow, it is too painful. I am not ashamed to admit I had tears by the end of the episode.
I have put the book on my wish list at Amazon. I feel I should read it, I would like to read it, but the way I felt after today I can't actually bring myself to buy it for myself. Leave it to fate.

BVD in Norwich

Let's start by ensuring I don't start rumours. The title does not imply that BVD has been diagnosed in Norwich.
I realise I may need to explain a bit more here. BVD is a rather nasty viral disease of cattle (nasty for cattle, absolutely no risk to humans). It is also very common. We have been working with an action group, facilitated by DEFRA, trying to devise a plan for eradication in the UK. Other European countries have shown that eradication is possible and it is important for the UK cattle industry that we do not lag behind. Anyway, last night I was over in Norwich for the launch of a pilot scheme to start eradication of BVD in Norfolk and Suffolk. Norfolk may not quite be Scandinavia, where they are BVD-free now, but the low density of cattle compared to the rest of the UK make it a good starting point.
There is no quick fix. This will take years and a lot of dedication but hopefully last night marked the beginning of the journey.