Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Eat Up

I remember my mother telling me to eat breakfast. The most important meal of the day they say. Well now I find that by regularly eating breakfast my sexual enlightenment was delayed. How annoyed am I! If only I had realised that was where I was going wrong. You can bet I would have cut out the toast in the morning at uni.

Monday, December 29, 2008


"A" has her first wobbly tooth. She is so exited. And she can't keep her fingers out of her mouth. I have told her that if she pulls it out too early then blood will flow from her mouth like vomit, but she doesn't seem to believe me. The funny thing is that "J" has a "thing" about wobbly teeth and hates it (only another 19 to go!). It doesn't worry me at all so I just laugh. And I can still remeber the worst thing about wobbly teeth, it's when you are fiddling with one and manage to spin it 180 degrees in the socket but then it gets stuck!!!! Ah, happy days.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


So, slightly behind the times with this one, it missed me at the time, but knighting a penguin? It seems a curious choice, a penguin, as a mascot. Especially for an elite troop such as the Kings Guard. You would think they would want something inspiring, fear provoking, grand even. A tiger, a polar bear, along those lines. But a penguin? Suitable if you were the Clowns troop maybe. What image are they trying to convey? The only thing worse would be an Okapi (ten bonus points if you can name that reference).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I have spent most of this evening fighting with my computer. Horrible things. Hate them.

Monday, December 22, 2008

You Spin Me Right Round Baby, Right Round

I am a little out of synch because I am now going to blog about yesterdays riding lesson. But, as nothing much happened today, this seems allowable.

I haven't been able to go riding for the last two weeks. Someone have, rather inconsiderately, taken what I consider to be MY slot. It is perfectly timed to coincide with "A"s lesson and I don't want to leave her hanging around for 30 minutes. Or, to be honest, I don't want her watching me for half an hour. So a few weeks agao I cleverly booked ahead so that I could get my slot back. Very pleased to be going riding again yesterday. I had missed it. To be fair, the last lesson had been really frustrating. Wolfie had not wanted to play along and I just couldn't get him to canter more than a few strides. I was having to kick so hard to get him going that I was then losing my balance. I felt rather better last week when I watched someone else riding Wolfie and they were faring worse. It might be unfair to take succour from another troubles but seeing her unable to stop him and having to ride him into the corner of the school did cheer me up somewhat (he was at the walk so no risk of damage to him or rider).

There, so I was looking forward to the lesson yesterday. We arrived. The yard was being set up for some show jumping. The jumps were in the indoor arena. Where the youngsters have their lessons. O well I thought, they will probably go out for a hack and I will have the outdoor school as usual. It was about then that I realised that while I was going to be in the outdoor school, so were the children, at the other end. This meant they (in particular my daughter) would be able to watch. In addition, all the parents, who are normally indoors as well, would be watching their loved ones and, by default, me. This was a disconcerting turn of events. It is one thing to be a fool in front of a nice and understanding (and to be honest fairly cute) instructor, rather another to do it in front of a host of other people.

Luckily I had had a rather good idea. I asked for a whip. The theory in my head being that with a whip I wouldn't have to kick as much, would therefore maintain my balance, and ultimately would manage to canter properly. And, I am pleased to say, the theory worked. Well, worked enough. Wolfie is a big horse. Cantering in a circle is not a strong point for him, he doesn't like corners. So, while I did manage a canter, I can't profess to have been in as much control as is desirable. I just hope that the spectators thought I meant to spiral him in at a canter and stop just short of running over the instructor.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


For years I have wanted to go to the Olympia Horse Show. Today we went. And it lived up to expectation. Wonderful fun. So much happening and all kinds of different bits to the show. "A" was able to sit through it all as well, with only a little bit of boredom during the long show jumping in the second half. But she really enjoyed it and wants to go again next year. So do I.

The only problem was the getting there. Problems at South Kensington meant that the train was very delayed. We were on the underground and it was stuck at a station. The driver kept giving us updates but he was a little odd. When we were about to leave he actually said "Alllllll abooooaaaarrrrd". Then at one point he said "by the law of averages we should get moving soon"!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Guest Number One

I've been in Edinburgh today. I was never going to make it home but thought I would set off and put an hour or so under my belt so it is a shorter journey tomorrow. After an hour driving I quizzed the sat nav to find a hotel nearby. It found me Auchen Castle. I rang and they had a room. Not all rooms have wi-fi so I nearly didn't stop, but I could see it from the road and it looked nice, whereas the weather and driving was horrible. Despite the fact that it is a castle the prices were extremely (and I mean extremely, better than the Holiday Inn last night) reasonable. And I do have wi-fi in the room after all, which is great, I don't have to sit in the lounge in my undies to blog and plurk!

Anyway, to the point. Despite the fact that this is a lovely place, I am the only guest. That's right, the only one. I am not sure I have ever stayed in a hotel before and been the only guest. It is weird. Very weird. The closest I can come to describing it is think of the first time you had to stay with your prospective parents in law. Do you see what I mean? Each course of your meal they are desperate that you are happy, you are saying thank you every time you see them. They are trying to look after you. You are trying not to be too intrusive. everyone making loads of effort to make sure everyone else is happy. They want you to be glad you chose them. You want to seem unobtrusive, don't want to be disturbing their time.

Still, it's a wonderful hotel, and this bathrobe is just so cosy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

I hadn't really wanted to read this. I picked it up because of a 3 for 2 offer and I couldn't spot anything else. So somewhat ironic that I couldn't put it down once I started.

At times shocking, if it is anything near an accurate description of the Taliban then this is a very sad world. But in reality it is about a man trying to find redemption, haunted by the ghosts of his past.

The descriptive passages are beautiful and work well to make you feel there. Certainly some of the plot line is a bit predictable, at times Hosseini almost telegraphs what will happen in 5 to 10 pages time. Because some of these things are so sad in some ways it is nice to have prior warning as the shock is less. In fact that may be why he does it. Almost a "brace yourself, bad news coming" approach. So don't even start this book if you are looking for a feelgood factor. It isn't going to raise you up there. But if you appreciate beautiful writing with a well woven storyline then this is for you.

"You're gutless. It's how you were made. And that's not such a bad thing because your saving grace is that you've never lied to yourself about it. Not about that. Nothing wrong with cowardice as long as it comes with prudence. But when a coward stops remembering who he is.. God help him. "

"Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it."

"I piss on the beards of all those self-righteous monkeys. "

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Slight Rambling

OK, trying to write Christmas Cards after a martini and a bottle of wine may not have been a great idea. And I will come back to that. But the martini bit of that sentence. I have never been a great cocktail fan. Then a few weeks ago in a rather nice London hotel for some unknown reason I decided to have a Ginger Cosmopolitan. It was probably the "ginger" in the title that did it, rather a liker of ginger am I. But for whatever reason I ordered it, and wow, wonderful refreshing drink with a nice kick to it. Now, a I understand it, and I am a bit vague on this, a cosmopolitan is basically an abused martini. So I bought the ingredients for a martini, and for a cosmopolitan, as well as some rather nive cocktail glasses (which may call for the camera at some point). And tonight made a rather strong martini. I think cocktails will ahve to be a weekend thing, otherwise nothing will get done.

Anyway, Christmas Cards. Over the last few years I have been trying to cut down on cards. It's a tough thing because peope can feel left out and forgotten. But I feel the whole purpose of Christmas is served better by a donation to charity. So, if you don't get a card from me it doesn't mean I am not thinking of you - at this time of year I am thinking of all of you, thanking the Grand Architect for my friends, praying for your health and happiness for the coming year. But if you will feel upset about not receiving a card then please let me know, I will be happy to sen you one.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Have You Got It?

Words cannot begin to describe how pleased I am that the X Factor is over. While I like the theory of us having a family evening, it is one thing to be watching a film, quite a different one to watch the X Factor. The reality is that I have ended up in the corner working on the computer while the others watch the singing. But at least this year the finalists could sing. The only good one last year was Rhydian. I was rather worried that Eowain (is that how it was spelt) would win, the Irish and Granny vote seemed his for sure. Instead it came through to Alexandra or JLS. Then they sang Hallelujah. And there is no question, JLS should have won. I had goosebumps as they sang. Now, Hallelujah has a special place for me after it played during a scene in West Wing, and anyone who has seen that scene will know why it is so moving. So I am now disapppointed that the JLS version won't be available to buy. Alexandra was good, and I am pleased for her, but the nation got it wrong.

And the original:

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Ting Tings - Be The One

I haven't yet thanked 1iz for introducing me to the Ting Tings, so thank you 1iz:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Keeping A Seat Warm

Last night was the first meeting I attended as a Past Master, specifically the Immediate Past Master. Unfortunately work commitments meant I had missed the last two meetings. It's very odd being IPM. 8 years or so ago I started on the "ladder", each year taking on a new office and each year getting more to do. Then it culminated in the year in The Chiar, with an incredible amount to do and no reading of books for a year as I learnt all my lines. And suddenly you are over the crest and it isn't a gentle slope down, it's a plummet. I had all of four lines to learn for last night. That is one evening of learning, no more. And during the ceremony my main role is acting as prompt if anyone gets stuck. It serves as a good lesson in humility, from the most important in the Lodge to someone who is, frankly, expendable. And maybe that is the final lesson to learn on the path from Initiate to IPM.

But, that said, it was a good night. For the first time I was able to sit next to my father during the ceremony, and that was nice. And it was good to see friends, to share in the seasons goodwill to others.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I Am Not A Number

You Are 4: The Individualist

You are sensitive and intuitive, with others and yourself.

You are creative and dreamy... plus dramatic and unpredictable.

You're emotionally honest, real, and easily hurt.

Totally expressive, others always know exactly how you feel.

At Your Best: You are inspired, artistic, and introspective. You know what you're thinking, and you can communicate it well.

At Your Worst: You are melancholy, alienated, and withdrawn.

Your Fixation: Envy

Your Primary Fear: To have no identity

Your Primary Desire: To find yourself

Other Number 4's: Alanis Morisette, Johnny Depp, J.D. Salinger, Jim Morrison, and Anne Rice.

And In The Silver Car

F1 is going through some hard times at the moment. It remains to be seen whether its return to the BBC next year will be a good thing. Having Murray Walker back as a commentator sounds good. Not so sure of the wisdom of having Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard as the pundits though. Eddies job is going to be hard though as he will ahve to cover for two very quickly, as Coulthard will wander away after the first 5 laps - for the last few years he has forgotten that a race goes on longer than that.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sick Too

I find that I get a lot of hits for my post discussing the "Logon process has failed to create the security options dialog" error message. This seems to be a continuing problem. I have posted a comment to the that post, but paste it as a new post as well as it may help:

The simplest and most reliable way to fix this problem is to uninstall "Service Pack 1". My computer is fine when that isn't installed, every so often it does a forced install, the problem returns, I uninstall and the problem goes.

Now the real problem, some programmes will only run if you have the Service Pack installed, something about resource allocation. So I can no longer uninstall. I have almost fixed it (meaning it is now an intermittent problem rather than constant problem). Turn of the side bar and Windows Defender. I believe that Windows Defender "argues" with other applications, such and anti-viral software.

There is a trick to turning off Windows Defender. It is a crafty little thing. First go in to "Programs", find Windows Defender, open it and turn it off. But, despite doing this, when you reboot your computer Windows Defender will still be running but in silent mode, ie it's running in "off" mode. To stop it running when you reboot you now need to go into msconfig (use the search bar). You will find "Windows Defencder" under the "Services" tab, AND IT IS STILL TICKED!!!!! Untick it. Ignore the warnings. And there you go.

Friday, December 05, 2008


It will just never be the same again. Terry Wogan is leaving Eurovision. All those barbed comments, the irony, the sarcasm. The Eurovision organisers may have complained about him but they are about to realise he was the best thing about the competition.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Open Up

In a world suffering from so much trouble, a Beach Hut Advent Calender is a beautiful inspired, and peaceful idea.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Take a moment to contemplate how on earth Synchronised Swimming has got funding for the Olympics when Athletics, or even Table Tennis, haven't. Remember that Boris said Ping Pong is coming home, not Flipper.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Now You See Me....

I believe in medicines. Obviously as a vet I should, after all I use them. But I also believe in some (note some) alternative therapies. I used to use acupuncture to treat some animals. And with animals it is hard to see how it can be a placebo effect (although there can be a placebo of the owner perceiving improvement). But with humans "mind over matter" can be important. And it is sometimes to do with fooling the mind into thinking itself better. And there may be no better example than using binoculars to reduce pain. That's right, looking at an injured body part can help reduce pain and swelling. But before any make readers start looking at certain parts of their anatomy and feeling good about themselves, the trick is to look through them from the wrong end. The idea is to make the affected part appear further away and smaller. The brain then sees less "risk" and is effectively less protective of the injury as it is more remote. It really is amazing how easy it is to fool our brain.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

By The Way....

In case you missed it - Wales beat Australia. And I am still smiling (it was yesterday). I had to remain restrained throughout the match as "J" had a friend around, so I couldn't shout at the TV as I wanted. The tension in our house was palpable, it must have been unbearable in the stadium. Real to-and-fro stuff. Wales deserved the win but it was a close thing, and Aus scoring in the last minute meant I destroyed a couple of extra fingernails. But that makes Wales the only Northern Hemisphere team to manage to beat a Southern Hemisphere team. A good position to be in before the six nations starts. And I have to say, here and now, Andy Powell you are amazing, I didn't think that we would ever see a player that made Martyn Williams look average, but Andy Powell is in the thick of everything, always ready to receive the ball, always ready to break a couple of tackles. Great stuff. Wales are a pleasure to watch.

Realize - Colbie Caillat

V1: Take time to realize,
That your warmth is
Crashing down on in.
Take time to realize,
That I am on your side
Didn't I, Didn't I tell you.

But I can't spell it out for you,
No it's never gonna be that simple
No I cant spell it out for you

C: If you just realize what I just realized,
Then we'd be perfect for each other
and will never find another
Just realized what I just realized
we'd never have to wonder if
we missed out on each other now.

V2: Take time to realize
Oh-oh I'm on your side
didn't I, didn't I tell you.
Take time to realize
This all can pass you by
Didn't I tell you

But I can't spell it out for you,
no it's never gonna be that simple
no I can't spell it out for you.

C: If you just realized what I just realized
then we'd be perfect for each other
then we'd never find another
Just realized what I just realized
we'd never have to wonder if
we missed out on each other now.

V3: It's not always the same
no it's never the same
if you don't feel it too.
If you meet me half way
If you would meet me half way.
It could be the same for you.

C: If you just realize what I just realized
then we'd be perfect for each other
then we'd never find another
Just realize what I just realized
we'd never have to wonder
Just realize what I just realized

If you just realize what I just realized


missed out on each other now
missed out on each other now

Realize, realize
realize, realize

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Enlighten me please. We are in this financial mess because everyone stretched themselves too far. Banks gave 100% mortgages (and even gave people money in their pockets). You could take out excessive numbers of credit cards if you wanted. There were just so many ways to extend your credit that people ended up over-committed and then the money ran out.

So how does the government trying to force banks to increase loans actually help. What is needed is money in the pocket. This is achieved through tax cuts. Increasing lending just increases the long term problem. Cutting VAT means, even if the shops pass it on, that for every £100 spent you save all of £2.50. The public need to feel safer, and that is done by making sure their pockets feel full.

Maybe if Brown spent less time writing to X-Factor contestants then he would have more time to think about trying to get us out of this.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bobby Rights

I posted a little while ago about the reluctance of the Brown government to let anyone question them. It seems they have taken this even further. Many would say that Damien Green was doing what he is paid for, an MP of the opposition bringing to light things that the government would prefer to keep hidden. Not things that affect national seurity but certainly things that affect our lives. And for that he was arrested. At a time when you would expect us to be on heightened alert after Mumbai, instead our counter-terrorist officers are raiding the offices and home of an MP. Brown is claiming he knew nothing about this and yet the plice rang both Boris and Cameron, seems hard to believe that they wouldn't extend that courtesy to the Prime Minister doesn't it. It seems Brown takes his premiership and as a divine right, and God help anyone who should doubt him.

Leg Bye

On the bright side, England cricketers returning from India at least means that they won't be subject to a 7-0 whitewash in the one day matches. In fact I am surprised they aren't suspects.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sat Nav Required

A Chapter night tonight. Smaller group of people but a good group. Obviousl can't tell you too much bt for the following it is enough that you should know that it involves some scenes from biblical times. And someone is supposed to say they come from Babylon. However general amusement follows when, without realising, they say they "come from Basildon".

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Any Value

Now you may want to call me cynical. But I am not sure how the drop in VAT will work. Ignoring the fact that it lays problems for the future (and that there is a possibility that the government are thinking of later raising it above the current rate), it risks being very ineffectual. I just feel that it is unlikely that the drop will be passed on in the shops. The High Street is already struggling, keeping an extra 2.5% on every sale could be the best opportunity they have of making a bit more money. I expect prices to remain the same.

Your Fault

Well that's a new error message. Completely honest:

"The file has failed to save. This failure has been caused by you"

So not only has my computer wipe some files it now also has an attitude about it!

Monday, November 24, 2008


I think I am going to lead a crusade to Yorkshire. Need to save them from the Moors.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Data Link

The government is now losing on average one computer a week. Now while the occassional loss may be understandable (actually it isn't, but if I say that then in less than a week I am bound to have to report I have lost mine) this attrition rate is beyond belief. And this is SINCE the loss of the two discs with half the countries information on them. I think that there is a saying, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Well the government certainly are being fools and they should be ashamed. It isn't security that needs to be stepped up, it is simple attention to detail and a bit of care.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

No Dialog

I am seriously fed up with the "Logon Process has failed to create the security options dialog" error box. It has been a repeated problem that I can only overcome by removing the Vista Service Pack 1. Every so often Windows automatically installs the Service Pack, I experience the crashes, then I reset to an earlier restore point. While that has worked, it isn't particularly satisfactory. Unfortunately it looks as though the new version of Everquest II won't run without the Service Pack, something about a resource issue. So once again I am battling with a computer that keeps crashing. Using my work laptop to search the Internet this doesn't seem an unusual problem, but there doesn't seem a reliable fix. I am hoping on it being Windows Defender. I have turned off Windows Defender in the program settings but that wasn't enough. I then had to go into the config program to discover that although Defender was turned off it was still loading (gee thanks Microsoft for that amazing piece of logic). Anyway now that is unchecked as well and we will see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Silent Night

Westminster officials can be officially be dubbed the grinch of Christmas. They have banned Debenhams from playing carols becuase it constitutes noise pollution. I've been in London, it is not a quiet city. And a lot of the noise isn't pleasant. So an opportunity to lighten the atmosphere and give everyone a lighter moment is missed for some stupid reason that the music will disturb people. Debenhams even said they would turn the music down but that wasn't enough. Killjoys seems an understatement. I hope someone forgets to give them a Christmas present, certainly Santa Claus won't come down their chimney because that must breach quite a few health and safety regulations.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Londons Burning

So Citigroup have announced they are to cut over 50000 jobs. This is on top of a cull of over 20000 earlier in the year. Now not all of those will come from the UK. To be fair they can't, Citigroup only employ around 12000 people in the UK. But London is going to take a fair hit. Once over the initial shock of the numbers though I am left wondering HOW they can cut this many? Over 70000 jobs cut within a year. OK, so the recession is beginning to bite. But even so this is an amazingly big number. I can't help but think that they must have been over-staffed. How can you lose that many jobs and keep functioning, unless they weren't all needed to start with? I am not complacent, we are seeing cuts as well, and it means we all have to work harder. But that is rationalisation in the extreem.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Party Thought

Politics is a difficult game. When times are tough do you challenge decisions and run the risk of being accused of party politics, or do you go with your convictions and say what you think, asking the questions to make new policy. At the moment the fall back position of Labour is to accuse the Conservatives of only raising issues to score points. But decisions do need to be challenged, questions need to be asked. If Brown is confident of his position then he should have strong and robust answers, not simply going defensive.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


So I have found this thing called Plurk, really not sure if it is anything to get excited about. It seems to basically be taking the status option from Facebook and using that on a timeline. Bit of a short running diary. Giving it a go anyway.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm Mandy Fly Me

Or, in the case of Aer Lingus, don't. That's right, Aer Lingus does not come with the Merlin seal of approval. An incredibly inefficient airline. I don't want to be accused of stereotyping so I need to be careful, but they didn't seem to realise that the watches on their wrists were to tell tehm something. And then when they let us on the plane it was the most disorganised boarding I have seen, people milling around in the aisle so new passengers couldn't get on. And getting off was no better. I don't think they could work out how to open the door. To cap it all my bag has been completely beaten up, the identifying strap had come loose, and I haven't dared to look inside to see how much is broken.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Circling Around

The man who invented the roundabout (Eugene Henard, although Frank Blackmore invented the mini-roundabout I believe) should have been given a Nobel prize. This was a major improvement in road design, saving lives and aiding traffic flow. An innovation that deserves a massive amount of credit. So why, o why, is there an apparent fetish for sticking traffic lights on the things. Milton Keynes and Northampton have both suffered from a rash of treaffic lights sprouting up at roundabouts. And they completely defeat the purpose. The whole point of a roundabout is to keep a smooth flow of traffic. The moment you throw lights up then the flow stops. Then at peak times the roundabout becomes clogged. There is no room for new cars to enter and, at times, it even becomes impossible to escape. If lights are required then make it a junction, at least the road doesn't become blocked. But preferably just leave the roundabout alone and let it do its job.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Class Act

There was a programme last week with John Prescott looking into class structure and whether it still exists in Britain. It made strange viewing. For someone who is so adamant about how bad class is he did a fine job of supporting the structure. A politician earning large amounts of money, with a lovely house and two Jags (he does have two now) and yet he still claims to be working class. Doesn't just claim it, is vehement about it. He fails to recognise, or refuses, that there is more mobility now, and that this is not a bad thing.

Even Prescott was confounded though when he was taken to meet a family living on benefits. They had 9 children but neither parent worked. Yet they could still by named gear for their children such as Nike. Prescott was asking the man of the family what he did? On the dole. But did he have a job when he left school? Yes he worked as a builder. How come he didn't still do that, the building industry had been doing well for years? Yes well he didn't like having to answer to other people, didn't like having a boss. So he wanted to have his own business? Yes but you need money for that. What about window cleaning? Oh yes I did that for a bit for a cleaning firm but wanted to be my own boss. So why didn't you set up yourself? You need money. What for? Ladders and the like. So, let me point out what I said a few lines up, they bought Nike clothing for their kids, and yet couldn't afford a ladder! The problem with the benefit system isn't that we help people, as a society we have a duty to look after each other, but we make it too easy for some people to kop out. It's self fulfilling. After you have been getting on quite comfortably on benefit why bother going back to work.

A seperate interview with a politician on the radio this week. He recounted a story about 18 years ago how a young pregnant girl had come to him asking for help. She thought that as the MP for the area he could get her a house. He did. Fast forward 18 years and a young pregnant girl comes in and asks for help getting a house. She tells him that she has come to him becuase he did so well in finding a house for her mother. What goes around comes around. We have to teach people responsibility. Saving them at the time isn't enough because then they will never break out of the mould. We have a duty to educate and to push people forward. And that duty is not served by giving people houses and money.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lessons In Love

On the news yesterday it reported that last year 123 3 year olds were excluded from nursery/school. There was an implication that the teachers were failing. At 3 years old it isn't the teachers that at failing, it is the families. These children are being raised thinking that violence is an OK thing. They are not being taught manners and respect. And unfortunately the teachers then get the blame, but if the teachers try to do anything I am willing to bet that the parents defend their "innocent" child and try to sue.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Ooooo Weekend

After a long day that really is as far as my brain can go

Thursday, November 06, 2008


One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. "Which road do I take?" she asked. "Where do you want to go?" was his response. "I don't know," Alice answered. "Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hey Big Spender

So in the end I went to bed at 0100 hrs. Let's just say common sense got the better of me. I had to go to work today, and staying up wouldn't change anything.

And I am pleased with the result. For a lot of reasons. But not least because these are tense times. Afghanistan and Iraq already at war. Iran and even Russia on the edge. The wrong person would have easily tipped it over. This now seems unlikely, a cooler head will prevail.

But in all of this there is one thing I find not only shocking but obscene. Here we are in a financial meltdown. People not having enough money to make ends meet. Record numbers of houses being repossessed. And during this election $1553 million were spent. That's correct. No typo. That is money that could have done so much good. Could have gone to medicine, health, education. It can't be right.

Not that our system is better when you look at money being spent. I think that in a democratic country each party should be given the same fixed amount. Whether you are independant or leader of a major party. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to put forward their case. No favouritism, the same time on television, the same number of posters. So what we hear is the views and not simply the volume. And certainly I hope that never again is $1553 million spent on an election.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Night

And I can't decide if I want to stay up for it

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Lost in Translation

Always risky to rely on email. Especially if you are hoping for a translation. Swansea Council needed to stop heavy vehicles using a road. So they put up a sign reading "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only". Now, if you know about signs in Wales then you will know they are always bilingual. So Swansea emailed their in-house translation service. They got a reply and put that on the sign. Unfortunately the person supposed to be translating was on holiday so, in fact, the reply was the out-of-office assistant and actually reads "I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated". Back of the class for the boys then.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Downwards Trend

So my osteo said to me I could start riding as long as I didn't fall off. Stay on the horse, improve my posture and it will help my back. Fall off and that's a different matter.


I wasn't even suppose to be riding today. But they had a last minute cancellation so they could fit me in. And I went out on Wolfie. Wolfie is big, very big. He takes some working to get him going. So a plastic chair blowing over towards him when we have just started to trot is not good. Wolfie spooked. Wolfie moved sideways. Unfortunately I was moving up as part of the trot. When I came down Wolfie was no longer there. Gravity took effect and I continued downwards until I hit the ground. The instructor said it was a "heavy" landing. Yes, well, I am a heavy person. And I came from a long way up.

I am stiff, bruised and limping. But I got back on and continued the rest of the lesson, including a canter at the end, so that's good!

Friday, October 31, 2008


Life is a bone. Sometimes it is going to get broken. Treat it right and it will grow back stronger than ever. Treat it wrong and you will bear the scars forever.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hanging On The Telephone

I have followed the Sachsgate episode with only mild interest. I think it is very much a storm in a teacup. That doesn't mean I think that the call was right. It was certainly insulting. But I really think that it was an issue between individuals and should never have become the great public fiasco that it has developed into.

The BBC have apologised that this episode came so far below the audiences expectations. That isn't actually true. Of the people listening that night only 2 people complained. Those I have spoken to who are fans of the pragramme said it was funny, even if in bad taste. The complaints have come from people who never even listen to the programme and who don't like Brand or Ross anyway. It has simply turned into an opportunity for those who dislike them, their humour, and what they represent to have a go at them in the "told you so" kind of way. People hate Ross because he is paid ridiculous amounts of money, well, to be fair, that isn't his fault. If someone wants to give him loads of money why should he say no. It is the same as footballers, I don't think that they should be paid as much as they are, but I don't blame them for taking it. And Brand simply makes people feel uncomfortable, they don't know what to make of him, and our response to what we don't understand is to get defensive.

I don't like what they did. But it is what they are paid for, to be spontaneous and to break the boundaries.

All Ears

I love overhearing conversations. In the spa yesterday a girl said to her other half "let's go in there, I bet it's freezing". It took everything I had in me to refrain from saying "well doh, that's why it's called the ice cave".

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In A Word

An interesting snippet of information (or at least I thought so). I hadn't realised that the word "wild" was derived from "willed, ie a wild animal has its own will.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And The Winner Is...

I am sure that I am allowed to mention the fact that I was at the Farmers Weekly awards last night (even though it's work, and as long as I promise to kill you afterwards). We are one of the sponsors so attendance is a must. I have never been before and I have to admit I was surprised by the amount of glitz. It was like a mini Oscars. A lot of music, lights, celebrities (Clare Balding and John Torode) and entertainment. As well as food and wine of course.

My favourite bit of the evening was the comedy provided by Rainer Hersch. If you ever get a chance to see him then I urge you to do so. The only problem was that his stint was too short. He needed to ahve at least an hour. Absolutely hilarious stuff.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What To Wear?

McCain must be regretting his choice of Palin as a running mate by now. Not that we are, too much entertainment, but if he thought he would make things more stable he was wrong. The idea of bringing in some youth to counter his grey hair, and a female to get the Hilary vote could still backfire. But as it backfires it will also bring a potential smile to our faces.

The revelation that this hockey mum has spent $150k on clothing does nothing to reflect the "in touch" feel that they were after. And I rather like the Republican excuse that a third has been returned which, it then transpires, is purely because it was the wrong size. As repossesions are on the increase and peoples savings are cut down by the credit crunch, there is some pain in hearing that a nominee has spent more than a mortgage on clothes alone. The smile has a certain degree of irony to it, but there is a smile none the less.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What's It All About

So they have announced that sex education should be compulsory. I do have some problem with this. It isn't a moral problem or anything. And it is possible that I am looking at this at too superficial a level. But, it seems to me, as sex education has increased so have the problems with teenage pregnancy etc. I am not sure that education helps. In fact I am convinced it doesn't. I think that all that is happening is that we are telling children what they can do at an earlier and earlier age. By telling them about it we are inviting them to experiment. The two things seems completely linked to me. We need to let our children be children. 7 year olds being taught about intercourse, this seems ridiculous. And don't say this is what they are exposed to already, at this age they aren't. But once school exposes them to it then of course they will want to know more about what the teachers taught them. We are making children grow up too quickly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One Way Or Another

"Thought for the Day" on Radio 4 this morning was about excelling at something. Apparently to excel you need to dedicate 10000 hours to your sport, music or whatever. A lot of your life. And I was thinking it is strange, society wants us to try and excel, excelling is seen as a virtue, and yet society also expects us to undersand that life is about family. These two paradigms are diametrically opposed to one another. Those who excel often later talk about how much they sacrificed. And a lot of what they sacrificed was those around them. They become heroes in society and at the same time ignore all those things that can give them personal value.

Monday, October 20, 2008


How would you pronounce this student’s name: “Le-a”?

Leah? NO
Lee - A? NOPE
Lay - a? NO WAY
Lei? Guess Again.

It’s pronounced “Ledasha.” Oh, yes, you read it right. This child attends a school in Livingston Parish, LA. Her mother is irate because everyone is getting her name wrong. If you see something come across your desk like this, please remember to pronounce it correctly.

I just couldn't work it out. How does Le-a sound like Ledasha? I could see no way to get from one to the other. Now see below for the answer:

When the mother was asked about the pronunciation of the name, she said, “The dash don’t be silent.”

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mental Block

I don't know if you have been watching "Greatest Cities of the World" with Griff Rhys Jones. I am a little behind with it, so only just watched last weeks where he was in London. It is an interesting series. Despite being slow it is interesting and, possibly because of its speed, relaxing. It could be manic but instead is a leisurely look around the city. But I did find one segment concerning. Griff spent some of the day playing on the stock exchange. Those he met there were as fast and furious as you might expect, shiffling millions of pounds around in seconds. Later the same day Griff went to a boxing club, and the sme people were there, not as spectators but as contestants. So these people who are responsible for the countries economy are happily destroying each others brain cells every evening. And we wonder why there is a crisis!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Two Packets of Crisps

After a while, as a parent you get used to being a source of disappointment for your child. For instance, today we went to Woburn Safari Park, I recounted a story of when I had to stitch a lions tail after it had been in a fight. You'd think that that should be reasonably impressive. No, I got a tut for not being able to remember if it was a daddy lion or a mummy lion. Anyway, it's bad enough when it is your own child. But the School Council, which is a body of children elected by their class mates (and remember this is primary school) have sent a message to all parents that they are disappointed in the snacks being sent in lunch boxes. Apparently the snacks aren't healthy enough. Yes, that's right, we are being told off by children for giving them nice things to eat!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Banged Up

It is unfortunate that Michelle comes from Rutland. It probably didn't help her case the moment she said that in court.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Formula One (Over)

A fast moving man was old Tony. So fast it was easy to miss him misleading everyone.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I had another riding lesson today. And boy, don't my legs know about it. When I dismounted I nearly fell over, my thighs and knees have suffered. But I spent most of the time laughing. Why you may ask (go on, ask, you know you want to).

Well, although I can't recount all the stories from earlier this week, I see no harm in saying we were in Portugal in a town called Golega, the Capital of the Horse. I don't know if you have ever seen a Lusitano stallion. Absolutely beautiful beasts. And we went to the Portugese School of Equestrian Art. Now for those not quite in the know, that isn't a museum with loads of horse paintings, that is where you go to see stallions being ridden with some of the best control you will ever have the priviledge of witnessing.

So, having seen this I was acutely aware of my rather feeble efforts. Hence a lot of laughing.

Golden Boy

It never rains on Mandelsons parade does it? Even when he resigns things still work ot for him. Resigning twice from UK Government he still got a handsome job in the EU. Then he is brought back by someone desperate to shore up his reputation (Brown if I am not clear here) meaning he has to resign from the EU. And for his pains he gets a lovely £1 million pay off, coming from tax payers money. OK, it isn't £1 million straight in the pocket, it is made up in a number of ways, but it was his choice to resign. Hell, if I tell my job that I resign tomorrow then they won't be exactly lavishing me with gifts.

On top of everything, Brown had to work out how to bring Mandelson back. So he gets ennobled. Mandelson is to become a Lord.

And why do people think politics a farce.

Colbie Caillat - Bubbly

And for nothing else I am in love with Colbie

Sink or Swim

When is a ship not a ship? When Gordon Brown is Prime Minister apparently. Not the funniest joke, but true. You may find this one hard to track dowwn. In fact if it was April 1st I would think I had imagined it. But "J" saw it as well, on the news this morning.

There has been a long standing arrangement that sailors who are away from home for 8 months a year do not have to pay tax (I believe it was the poll tax but could be corrected). Anyway, the dear old inland revenue have found a loophole. It is simple enough. Reclassify ships as "floating platforms". Suddenly the men on board are no longer sailors and no longer eligeble for the tax break. A nice extra income for the government, on a group of people who won't be noticed.


A new preacher was visiting in the homes of his parishioners.

At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer
came to his repeated knocks at the door. Therefore, he took out his
business card and wrote 'Revelation 3:20' on the back of it and stuck it in the door.

When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card
had been returned. Added to it was this cryptic message, 'Genesis3:10.'

for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter.

Revelation 3:20 begins 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock. 'Genesis
3:10 reads, 'I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was

Saturday, October 11, 2008


So after a week of being banished I have relented. It really was impossible to look at the sad little faces pressed against the door. But they have had the riot act read to them. They hopefully realise that should another piece of furniture be ruined then I cannot be held responsible for "J"s actions. House rules have changed, upstairs door kept closed at all times, at night the cats aren't allowed in the sitting room. We will see!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Not Fair

4 days away in Portugal. And I really could regale you with some fantastic stories. From start to finish. real tears to the eyes stuf. But I can't. Because it was work. So you will just have to trust me. Laugh, it was worth it.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Dee Dah

It's no wonder that everyone rubber-necks at accidents on the motorway. I've worked it out. Every child from the moment they are born has to put up with their parents pointing out to them every passing police car, ambulance and fire engine, especially if the blues are going. We are indoctrinated from the outset.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Blasted cats. And everything was going so well. But in the last two months we have had three pieces of furniture ruined by pee. And I am rather stuck for a reason why.

It isn't cystitis. As a vet I hope I'd be able to spot that one. Nothing has changed in the house so it shouldn't be stress. The litter trays are in the garage so nice and secluded, and anyway the three pieces of funiture have been in the open so it wasn't that one was wanting to hide away. And it isn't the same place, three pieces of funiture in different places. Litter trays cleaned out regulalry (now twice a day).

All the things I can think of aren't the reason for it. So I am stuck.

Which means the cats are now banned to the conservatory. Which is miserable for them, they stand at the door crying to come in. And is miserable for us, I feel guilty that they are in a cold conservatory, every time we have to go to the garage then we have to sneak in trying not to let them through, and I miss having them in the house and around our feet. And getting rid of them would break "A"s heart, she loves them so much.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Come-Back Kid

You know, I really don't care how many people think that Peter Mandelson has done an excellent job in the EU. He has had to resign twice. He has repeatedly shown incredible poor judgement. And to bring him back also shows poor judgement. Is there really no-one else that Brown can turn to? Has the barrel really got that low? There is a message there though. Brown and the old guard can see that they are losing their hold, the tenure is slipping. What else can they do but turn to the old team, those that were there at the birth of New Labour?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Biffy Clyro - Mountains

Interesting, the video is set in a masonic temple.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Searching Can Be Dangerous

The 'net is a weird place. I never cease to be amazed by what turns up. There is a disease in cattle called Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis, IBR for short. I needed some pictures and thought I would see what I could turn up. I ran an image search for IBR. What turned up was pictures from the Iron Butt Rally and pictures from the International Bear Rendezvous. Even more surprising is that the Iron Butt Rally is actually less dodgy than it sounds while the International Bear Rendezvous is significantly more dodgy than it sounds.

{I am now going to get some very strange hits on my blog}

OK Go Epidemic

There's something about OK Go that makes everyone want to try their dance moves.

I especially like those that haven't noticed that there are FOUR people in the Group

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ow Ow Ow

Agony. Absolute agony. My neck has gone into spasm. It hasn't been this bad for years. However I don't think that the horses can be blamed. No, the blame lies firmly at the doors of London and a certain hotel. I had a meeting in London today so went down last night to stay there. The longest check in process I have ever experienced (although I am getting quite used to being bumped from hotels in that diabolical hell hole of a city). Anyway, up and down the lift 4 times before I could get into my room and not putting my rucksack on properly (at one point I got in a very full lift, about 8 different floor buttons had been pressed, leant back to hear a ping as my rucksack cancelled all the aforementioned buttons, the sighs as people had to each press their respective floor again were deafening) as I was getting so fed up probably put too much pressure on my neck.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


So they didn't give me the most difficult horse. I got Wolfie, otherwise known as the BFG.

I had forgotten how much hard work riding is. I mean, all you do is sit on top of a horse, it can't be that hard can it. Within 10 minutes I had to take off my fleece. By the end of my lesson I was seriously sweating (sorry, possibly more detail than you need). It was fun though. I was pleased that it all came back, more or less. I thought after 15-20 years I might have forgotten it all. But I managed to steer, to go faster, to slow down, basically all the important things. The only thing I had forgotten was how to get off, which was a minor problem when we got back to the stables and there were loads of children and mothers around.

But boy, do I ache today. Not too surprised about my back and neck (I need to talk to my osteo, either I am going to do some serious damage or it will help strengthen everything and it is worth getting through the pain) but didn't expect the inside of my thighs to be so sore.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Whoops, Not Me

So tonight Gordon Brown has said that this should be an end to the age of irresponsibility. Can you Labour supporters just confirm something to me? This age of irresponsibility would be the same period as the end to boom and bust wouldn't it? This age of irresponsibility would be the decade that Labour, and especially Brown, have precided over wouldn't it? This age of irresponsibility comes from a political irresponsibility that leaves us all wondering what tomorrow may bring.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's In The Timing

So I have taken "A" riding every weekend for the last 6 months or so (barr 2 I believe). I have watched her riding. I have remembered the days when I used to ride. And gradually I have thought I might quite enjoy doing it again. Not a light decision, it is probably about 15 years since I last sat on a horse. Today I booked yself a lesson next week. And then about 15 minutes later stuck my nose in where it probably wasn't wanted. Up until now I have kept quiet about being a vet. Really didn't want anyone to know. Today I saw soemthing that concerned me, you don't need to know what, just it presented a risk to the horses and I have had to treat horses for this problem, and it really isn't nice. So I told them. And explained I was a vet and hence concerned.

So, what is the betting that next week I get the most cantakerous, difficult and downright nasty horse they can find?

Saturday, September 20, 2008


During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director how do you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.
'Well,' said the Director, 'we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.'
'Oh, I understand,' said the visitor. 'A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup.'
'No.' said the Director, 'A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?'

Friday, September 19, 2008

What Was That?

Yesterday they announced that texting while driving is more dangerous than drinking or smoking cannabis. I view this as good news. If I stop texting then I can have a can of lager with me when I pop down the shops.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Too shocked to post anything profound. The guy who lead HBOS to disaster, who is responsible for thousands of people losing their jobs, is getting £2 million worth of shares. Somehow that just doesn't seem right.

I have to say I am also concerned about the competition commission ignoring this deal. I already have some major doubts about the competition commission anyway after their handling of vets, but this seems ludicrous. In normal times we wouldn't let this go through but now it's OK! Lloyds must be laughing. Because in a few years the dust will have settled, the credit crunch will be over, and then Lloyds can use their massive share of the market however they want. They say it's an ill wind that blows no-one any good. Lloyds and Barclays are making sure they reap the benefits, and I somehow doubt they willl ever reap the whirlwind.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Question

On the drive home from work I was able to catch a bit of the comedy slot on Radio 4. Recently I have been too late to get it, but today was a nice change. So I was listening to "Mark Watson Makes the World Better" (or something like that). Anyways, he was talking about humility. He commented on having been on "Mock the Week" and for about two weeks afterwards people look at him as thought they recognise him. Then someone actually comes up and asks "Are you famous?". He followed this up by saying "the answers in the question really isn't it, I mean, if you have to ask, it's a bit like asking are you a horse?"

While some of you will wonder why I bothered with this post, I can promise that any member of the Support Team is now rolling on the floor laughing. I nearly crashed the car.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

All For One

To me it seems one of lifes no brainers. The Gurkhas, these brave men who would lay down their life for a friend, and many of whom have laid down their lives for Britain, should be allowed a home here. I can think of no reason to deny them. And yet we continue to deny them anyway. We should be ashamed. And the reason put forward is that they have no strong links to the country. A country that their friends and compatriots died for. My respect goes to Joanna Lumley for fighting their cause. It seems so incongruous, these wizzened old men along side this tall blond woman, but she knows her father would have died had it not been for these men.

I hope they win, they deserve it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Some Days it's Best To Live To The Max

A Challenge

I suspect my comments about Liverpool have insulted at least two readers, Nearly Time and Rainbow Dreams. I can't apologise for not liking Liverpool but I feel that they are perfectly entitled to their opinions. Therefore I need to extend an olive branch. So, I lay down this offer to you both, take me to Liverpool and show me what I was missing.


I remember at university how the lecturers always used to complain about us sitting near the back. They always demanded we moved forward. One of the first conferences I went to once I moved into industry was the the Association of Lecturers and Researchers annual congress. I was amazed how many of my old lecturers I met when I was there. Imagine my surprise when I went in to the first lecture of the day. All the people I had known complain about the students were, in fact, sitting at the back of the lecture hall, with plenty of space at the front. I so wanted to tell them to move up!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ferry Cross The Mersey

I could be accussed of prejudging Liverpool, I would accept the criticism. I may not have had open eyes and therefore only seen what I wanted. However.....

On the last night everyone else was going to a posh dinner. For reasons too long to mention (but mainly due to the fact that I had cried off at the last minute for the last 4 years so my mate wouldn't buy me a ticket) I was not going. I decided to go for a wander to find something to eat. It took me longer than I expected. I was really looking for a pub meal. A pie and a pint would have hit the spot. But it seemed I had one of two options as far as pubs went. One option was to take part in kareoke, the other was to be surrounded by old wrinklies. There seemed no nice pub where I wasn't either going to be deafened by out of tune singing or to have my pint ruined by a pair of false teeth dropping in it. I finally resorted to what considered itself to be a restaurant and grill with home cooked food. Afterwards I decided to wander a bit more. This isn't unusual for me, I often decide to wander around cities I don't know, not knowing where I am going. I have to say the last time I felt this certain I was going to be stabbed was when I had been led into the depths of Marrakesh and hadn't seen a white face for two hours.

I found my way to the Cavern Quarter. It sounded the right place to go. Well, there must be over 15 clubs all with the windows open, side by side. The noise is deafening, and the company dubious. I went into one club, drank one drink and hastily left. I wandered further. I finally decided that a retreat was a good idea when I came across two ladies standing in a doorway only wearing dressing gowns. Now I'm generally fairly naive but even I realised what they were up to. I returned to the hotel with no desire to come back.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


A few days away with little time for TV or papers and I get back to fnd rebellion in the wings. Having to sack people for saying there needs to be a leadership election doesn't strike as a position of strength. Whenever Gordon feels that things must be at there lowest then more bad news seems to come along.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Indigo Girls - Power of Two

Scouting For Girls - The Airplane Song

She's a strawberry Milkshake
She's as sweet as a peach
But she's ice cold
She never told me, she was leaving
She left on a Friday
I went out for the day
She left for the year
She never told me she was leaving

So get yourself on an airplane cos it's been far long since you went away
Get yourself on an airplne cos it's been far long since you went away

She's so extradinary
She left last Janurary
And that's the reason I miss you so

She's a messy creation
She hit the road but the road hit back
Nobody told me your an Island
I would wait for a life time
I've been counting the days since you left away
Nobody reaches her Island

So get yourself on an airplane cos it's been far long since you been away
Get yourself on an airplane cos it's been far long since you been away

She's no extradinary
She left last Janurary
And that's the reason I miss you so

So give me a chance
I want you to know
I wont love you and leave you
And then wont let you go

I'll either sort myself out
Or somebody show me the way

And nobody knows the way
And nobody knows the way
And nobody knows the way
And nobody knows

You gotta give me a chance
And say you'll come home
I won't love you and leave you
And then let u go
Your always hard on your self

And nobody knows the way
And nobody knows the way
And nobody knows the way
And nobody knows the way
And nobody knows the way

No body knows the right way

And Get yourself on that airplane cos it's been far since you went away
Get yourself on that airplane cos it's been far since you went away
Get yourself on that airplane cos it's been far since you went away
Get yourself on that airplane cos it's been far since you went away
Get yourself on that airplane cos it's been far since you went away
Get yourself on that airplane cos it's been far since you went away

She's no extradinary
She left last Janurary
And that's the reason I miss you so

An Experience

So Liverpool has never been high on my list of places to go. I have always thought it likely to be rough (and this is someone who went to uni in Glasgow). After 4 days here for a congress I would have to say all my preconceptions have been fulfilled. At its most basic, a hotel that requires three bouncers (not doormen, obvious bouncers) does not shout "class".

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Once, Then

I remember her,
And though always there,
It is the moments
Between a dream
And the day
When my hands
Are tracing shapes
In the air,
Stroking her body,
A form
Carved of nothing,
In a simple response
Of where her legs lay,
To the beat
Of her heart,
To the gentle
To caress
A beauty
Lost to a memory

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Some days the little things just add up so much that you feel like breaking something!

Alligator Brought Down By Dogs

Dog Pack Attacks Gator In Florida

Don't look at the picture if you are squeamish or recently had lunch

At times nature can be cruel, but there is also a raw beauty, and even a certain justice manifested within that cruelty. The alligator, one of the oldest and ultimate predators, normally considered the 'apex predator', can still fall victim to implemented 'team work' strategy, made possible due to the tight knit social structure and 'survival of the pack mentality' bred into the canines. See the remarkable photograph below courtesy of Nature Magazine. Note that the Alpha dog has a muzzle hold on the gator preventing it from breathing, while another dog has a hold on the tail to keep it from thrashing. The third dog attacks the soft underbelly of the gator.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

My Boy Lollipop

This isn't my favourite photo in the world but, to be honest, most of my pride has gone long ago. What you see here is me, ready to go on shift, with a MLDU (or Mobile Lolly Dispensing Unit). Traditionally "D" has done a wonderful job of making sure our team get some sweets while they are on duty. It is a fantastic job and involves trying to find them throughout the night. However there was an evening when "D" wasn't going to be able to do this. Rather than let the team down she provided Zippie and myself with these rather fetching devices which are zip up lolly holders, mine a pink dragon (that goes so well with my top) and Zippies a white cow with big pink lips. And in the true spirit of the evening we did wear them all night and use them to provide sweets.
However, on the last night we were supposed to wear them again. Now, I must admit, when I thought we were going to deal with some rather out of hand youths we did take the MLDUs off. I really did not feel that it would have exuded the level of authority we were aiming for. Sadly, once the issue was dealt with, we forgot to put them back on, I don't know how that happened.


The idea of weekends for me is to be able to do things with "A". It makes up for some very late nights at work. When the weather is wet and miserable it is harder though. Yesterday afternoon we were a bit devoid fof ideas. I knew "J" wanted to see Mamma Mia so I suggested they went together. While I didn't like the idea of not being a part of it, at the same time I recognised it is a complete chick flick, and it in no way makes me want to see it. At the last minute I almost changed my mind and went with them, but I really couldn't face it. From the reports I think I made the right choice.

So today "A" wanted "J" to take her swimming. She is trying to learn how to dive to the bottom of the pool. I was invited. Now, I have to admit, this did not fill me with enthusiasm. I enjoy swimming, but I really mean swimming, not playng in the water. I thought of not going, but I didn't like the idea of two things this weekend I wasn't in on, so I went. And had so much fun. "A" really didn't do a lot of learning, she was too excited having me there ("J" distracts her at riding, I seem to distract her at swimming). But we played around, I swam with her on my back, I swam with her on my front, she leapt in and splashed us, she got cold water to pour on us. All in all a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

And The Lyrics

Going back to the corner where I first saw you,
Gonna camp in my sleeping bag. I'm not gonna move,
Got some words on cardboard got your picture in my hand,
Saying if you see this girl can you tell her where I am,
Some try to hand me money they don't understand,
I'm not... broke I'm just a broken hearted man,
I know it makes no sense, but what else can I do,
How can I move on when I've been in love with you...

Cos if one day you wake up and find that you're missing me,
And your heart starts to wonder where on this earth I can be,
Thinking maybe you'd come back here to the place that we'd meet,
And you'd see me waiting for you on the corner of the street.

So I'm not moving...
I'm not moving.

Policeman says son you can't stay here,
I said there's someone I'm waiting for if it's a day, a month, a year,
Gotta stand my ground even if it rains or snows,
If she changes her mind this is the first place she will go.

Cos if one day you wake up and find that you're missing me,
And your heart starts to wonder where on this earth I can be,
Thinking maybe you'd come back here to the place that we'd meet,
And you'd see me waiting for you on the corner of the street.

So I'm not moving...
I'm not moving.

I'm not moving...
I'm not moving.

People talk about the guy
Whos waiting on a girl...
There are no holes in his shoes
But a big hole in his world...

Maybe I'll get famous as man who can't be moved,
And maybe you won't mean to but you'll see me on the news,
And you'll come running to the corner...
Cos you'll know it's just for you

I'm the man who can't be moved
I'm the man who can't be moved...

Cos if one day you wake up and find that you're missing me,
And your heart starts to wonder where on this earth I can be,
Thinking maybe you'd come back here to the place that we'd meet,
And you'd see me waiting for you on the corner of the street.
[Repeat in background]

So I'm not moving...
I'm not moving.

I'm not moving...
I'm not moving.

Going back to the corner where I first saw you,
Gonna camp in my sleeping bag not I'm not gonna move.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Script - The Man Who Can't Be Moved

A friend on Facebook sent this song to me. I hadn't heard of The Script before but have gone and bought their album immediately.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Baby Boom

I'm going to be voting Bartlet when it comes to the US elections but I am still following the current goings on with a degree of interest. I am mystified by the media response to Sarah Palin though. She seems to have been vilified by the press. I was trying to work out why. As far as I can tell it comes done to the fact that she has a 17 year old daughter who is not married but is pregnant. There are times I want to scream "none of your g.d d..n business". This is not an issue that the media should be dragging up. What, is it supposed to show that Palin did a bad job raising her family? Supposed to show she has no morals? Well, I can't see how it makes any difference to her ability to hold the position of Vice President. In one respect it shows that there are a normal family, faced with the same challenges that face every other family. Not everything goes perfectly, that's life. I am much more worried about a President who supports war mongering than I would be a President who has an unmarried mother in the family.

Couldn't vote for Sarah Palin though, her voice is so screachy!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sweet Calm

Tonight could be
About snatching
A glimpse of ecstasy
Of leaving the world
To fend
For itself
While I rest
In someone elses arms
Silence the mobile
Switch off the pager
Ignore the email
And for a time
Reduce it all
To a pleasure

And yet
So rarely
Could be's happen

Rags to Riches

I don't understand football, never have. Rugby, cricket, even ice hockey all great. But football never interested me. So I don't understand everything behind it. But I have recently heard the numbers being thrown around for the transfer season. How is this justified? Something like £104 million changed hands yesterday, with a single player being bought for around £35 million. These seem like truly obscene amounts of money to me. I cannot get my head around it. I think about what that money could do if it was put into society and it makes me sad. I firmly believe that there should be a capping system to keep the price down. Down and to a respectable level.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Tall, So Tall

It was "A"s last day of the school holidays. "J" had to go to work so I took a day off. What to do though? Hmm, dilemma. Well, after much soul searching I decided on Drayton Manor Theme Park. The only thing was, would "A" be big enough to go on the rides she would most enjoy. Some were definite no's, but would she pass the 1.2 metre height limit.

I don't think she could have been any closer to the limit, it must have been milimetres, but, to my relief, she passed. Well, when I say relief, that may not be quite the right phrase. This meant that we could go on the "Apocalypse". Let me quote from their description on the site: "Takes riders to a height of 54 metres and tilts them forward at an agonising 15 degree angle as they are hoisted skyward on a half ton launch shuttle. Then they drop at the mercy of gravity at over 4Gs." My daughter of 6 thought this was a good idea. Not once, not twice, but three times she made me do it. Strangely the first time was the easiest, it got worse the more I knew what was coming. To go on the ride three times she had to be measured five times, because looking at her they couldn't believe that she was tall enough but, despite my silent pleading, they let her through in the end each time.
And she made me go on the log flume thing twice. Description: "With a 180 degree platform that sends boats backwards down an amazing 9 metre drop! Launched in association with the RNLI, it recreates a lifeboat rescue and features three spectacular drops at 3Gs and a speed of 35 knots. " I have never known a flume so wet. I was absolutely drenched. "A" was OK because she basically used me as an umbrella. I have to admit I bought one of those plastic poncho things but, in my defence I simply wrapped the camera in it, I wasn't going to wimp out and try to protect myself!
The picture is "A" on the teacup type things that spin around and around. She also discovered the Waltzer (which we had to go back on immediately).

Monday, September 01, 2008

By Name

So a visit to my osteo today. It's a regular thing, I generally need to go about every 8 weeks or things become very painful (as opposed to a fairly constant low discomfort) (although sleeping in a tent on the ground actually seems to have helped). Anyway, sometimes I have loads to say, sometimes my mind is blank. Today was a blank day. Until I mentioned that she hadn't accepted my friend invite on Facebook (for which I don't blame her, who wants to bring work home with them!).

Anyway, she said she didn't remeber seeing an invite from me. I explained that the name on Facebook would be Merlin. This then lead to having to explain why. Followed by a very happy twenty minutes explaining the names of all my Greeneblt friends. Which seemed to keep her amused and took my mind off the crunching sounds in my back. And having explained many names (Zippie, Guilty, Squeak etc) I thought, you know what, we really are a weird lot.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Here, I Want A Word With You

Greenbelt doesn't have a very high level of hierarchy, but there is some. At the top are the FOMs, one of which used to run the Night Security team in the days when I was on it. Chief Tonka generally commands respect (while GB is a safe place, last year a fight really broke out, out of a crowd of around 17000 people the two protagonists managed to be standing next to Chief Tonka which meant that a) they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and b) it was over quicker than it started).

So this year Sweetcorn and Staples were trying to escort some lads off site who didn't have wrist bands. Well, I say escort, it was more shepherding them as the lads were a reasonable way ahead. Sweetcorn was looking for some back up in case the lads tried to leg it. I was actually nearby in the 4WD (did I mention I didn't get it stuck in the helicopter field) but she didn't know I was closing in on the situation. In looking around she saw Chief Tonka. Recognising him, and wanting to call on his skills, she uttered the now legendary lines of "You'll do, come with me". The look on her face ten minutes later when she realised what she had said was priceless.

Beep Beep

In a sense of equality (did I tell you I didn't get stuck in the helicopter field while someone else did?), I feel I have to admit to some car related issues at GB. The first is relatively simple, the 4WD tonkas we use have flashing lights on the top, I don't think I have once managed to get into one of the vehicles for the first time and then not need someone to come and show me where the switch is (thank you Stick).

The second is a bit more embarrassing. Driving around site is quite difficult at times. There are a lot of pedestrians who seem to forget that it is generally a good idea to stay out of the way of cars. Road safety for many seems to go out of the window. The tonkas we have often don't have great all round visibility, they are functional vehicles and the back is usually a hard top with little window. So every year when I start using them I am, shall we say, cautious. To be honest, for the first couple of hours we would probably get places quicker if we were on foot at a brisk walk. After a while I get more comfortable and pick up speed. There was a precipitating factor this year. It wasn't that there was an emergency. No. What made me think that I needed to pick up speed was being overtaken by a golf buggy and then in less than a minute being undertaken by another one.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mud Glorious Mud

Even without being there I am sure you can imagine that camping at Cheltenham racecourse got a bit muddy this year. And the helicopter field was especially so (so much so that a certain leader of the site crew got a 4WD stuck up there, have I mentioned this already, well worth mentioning again, I drove around on a number of occassions with no problem, he had to be towed out). The muddiness was further compounded around the utility points. While GB has come on in many ways since the old pits in the ground for toilets, it still seems strange that the water from the wash areas is allowed straight on to the ground rather than being piped away. Even in a dry year these areas become treachorous. And, by the smell, I suspect some of the portaloos leaking didn't help either.

Anyway, on the last night we had gone up there with one of our teams to sort out a few things. Once sorted it was time to head home. I had parked near a utility point, to make it easier to see the car (fire crew may take some hints here, it helps avoid losing your vehicle). I got in the drivers side. Sweetcorn was on the other side of the roadway, wondering how to make it through the mud (she isn't tall). Rector started his car and came our way. Sweetcorn sensibly stood to the side to let Rector pass. He drove on, but as he did his tyres started slipping in all the mud. There was a revving sound, followed by a splashing sound, then he was gone. Leaving in his wake a Sweetcorn covered from head to foot in mud. I don't think she appreciated my laughing.


I looked out of the window and saw the empty day-glos on the line. I had a moment of sadness.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Fleeting Moment

You know what, I don't think I do badly on TV. The journalist told our PR company that they could put me up live.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Deep Fried Everything

A WHO report released today reveals some quite shocking statistics. While we expect life to be shorter in foreign countries such as Africa, we learn that even in the UK there are major differences. If you live in Calton you can only expect to make it to 54 years old, live just over 10 miles away and you gain almost 30 years.

It is lifestyle, but how much of that is choice. Do people eat deep fried mars bars, take drugs, abuse alcohol out of choice? Is it what they are taught by their parents? Or is it a lack of self-respect because society doesn't let them know that they have value?

I went to university in Glasgow. It would have been easy to go to church in the more respectable areas. In fact, while it wasn't Calton, I used to go to one of the rougher, poorer areas. I didn't do enough there, but at least I saw with my eyes. I met some of the most genuine people it has been my fortune to call friends.

I remain committed to my beliefs because I believe that conservatism is about trying to bring everyone up to the higher level. But, you know what, I don't care what your political background, we have to find a way to all work together to stop this.


One more GB thing then that's it for the night (you cannot begin to imagine the sheer joy of a decent bed and shower again).

GB is very busy for me and I get little time to see what I would like. And I certainly don't get to think about what I don't know. But on Monday I got over to the grandstand early. I needed coffee and something to eat (midday is breakfast when you work our shifts). So I had some biscuits and my coffee and decided to sit on the grandstand steps while I ate and drank. This meant I could here Pete Rollins in Talk 2. And I listened. Wow. Sometimes something hits home. And this did. In many ways he was voicing my beliefs, but managing to paint them into a picture that I could understand better. I cannot do it justice. But it was about how we would only find paradise, find god, find peace, when we stopped grasping for it. That rather than trying to fill the gaps with God we need to accept the gaps and allow God to be elsewhere. That what was important was how we lived our lives every day rather than on a Sunday. He had some fantastic quotes, but unfortunately I couldn't get the name of who he was quoting. Stop making doing things an excuse for not managing to do anything. Reflect who you want to be.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Here You

It was a quiet year. In many ways not as many stories as in previous years. But still I had the most chaotic, the most relaxed, and the happiest time of the year. I love the moments that my team make happen.

Chief Tonka used to run the nights team when I did nights. I have a lot of respect for him, not least because his day to day job involves carrying a rifle. I hope that I have managed to learn something from him over the years. I freely admit to being somewhat in awe of him (not a feeling I have for many if I am honest). So imagine when I find that a team of mine were trying to evict a few young lads from the site. They were escorting the lads (or possibly shepherding them) in the right direction. Sweetcorn felt that a bit more presence was needed. She spotted Chief Tonka and, in her words, shouted "You'll do, come with me". He has even more of my respect because he did. She has my respect because she wasn't intimidated by his position.


GB was a bit wet this year. The grounds are fairly good and can dry quickly but repeated showers/drizzle/hurricanes meant that it was never quite dry enough. Certain areas got a bit boggy (possibly aided by the bogs overflowing/leaking etc). Helicopter field certainly suffered. And the roadways became treachorous in places. Luckily I have had training on driving in mud so I managed to make it through on the countless occassions I decided to take a tonka around the camping site. Unlike some. Who I would hesitate to mention, but they have a blog. Who needed a tow. Who got stuck in the middle of the camping area. Oh, did I mention, they beached i!

Missing You

Not that we get withdrawal symptoms or anything of course, but in the last 24 hours Facebook has lit up with new groups related to Greeneblt with photos and everything. All basically saying, had a great time, wonderful to spend some time with you, look at x looking silly in this photo. There are too many of us that wished most of life was Greenbelt.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stop Right There

Once more, on the first night, we had to make a sweep of the Helicopter field to check for any bad people. As this event was described last year I do not have to go in to detail about the golf buggies etc. However it is worth recounting the journey back to the grandstand. Four golf buggies travelling in convoy left the field and headed down the lane, carryingpproximately 20 stewards in day glos and other official looking clothing. Half way down the hill are a group of youths coming towards us. As we get closer we see that they are carryinh a No Entry sign. Which should be at the end of the lane! I think they had the greatest shock of their lives when they realsied they had 20 stewards descending on them. They must have thought this the most tight security ever. And I bet they didn't nick another thing all weekend. 6 out of 10 for effort on their part, but definitely 0 out of 10 for timing.