Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Do you or do you not believe in ghosts? I have spent the evening in a haunted pub. Honest. The ghost is called Mary. How do I know that it was haunted? Well, there were two bars, the "Vault" and the "Lounge". It was a quiet night so the door to the Vault was locked. And yet the pressure pad just inside, that rings whenever anyone enters the Vault, kept sounding. For 10 minutes, even possibly a quarter of an hour, there were regular buzzing noises. Until the barmaid yelled at Mary to stop. And then there were no more. Spooky.

A Partisan's Daughter - Louis de Bernieres

Just 4 pages in to this book and I have to post in order to tell you, no order you, to read this. Gripping

Monday, March 30, 2009


The Jacqui Smith story is one of hypocracy in so many ways. For someone who has just been championing a move to stop the exploitation of women, her husband being found to have watched porn while she was away has to be embarrassing. For someone who has been trying to get rid of sleaze in politics then making the public pay for accessing the channels is even worse. And notice that while he apologised to his wife for embarrassing her, if you listen to what he says he doesn't apologize to us for putting it on expenses. He actually doesn't see what he has done wrong. Then you have politicians who think that they have a right to claim on expenses because they think that their salaries are too low. These are the politicians who are happily capping fireman, nurses, police etc. But possibly the biggest hypocracy is those who are shouting the loudest. Many of those papers expressing shock that he watched porn are owned by those men who also own the pay channels, who provide the programmes that they profess to be shocked by. We live in a world where irony is a way of life.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Piano Life

Sometimes things,really simple things, can make me smile. I am in Harrogate for a couple of days for a conferance. And I have found a brasserie with live jaz. As i hadn't booked they have squeezed me on to a table that is really for the people at the bar waiting for their proper tables. So I have music, I have my book, and a world of different characters milling around. And I am very happy with it all.

Addendum - the book is "trying to save piggy sneed", I have a crisp dry White, I am surrounded by 1949 pin up calenders, and the singer is singing Valerie. It can't get better

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spending Spree

So here we are, recession looming, money tight. And a G20 meeting to discuss the problem. To think about the man in the street. So exactly how much is Obama spending in order to attend? $20 million, yes that's right, $20 million! You have to wonder exactly how a hop across the water from the USA to the UK can cost that much. Even flying first class with those really luxury seats that turn in to beds. To be fair though, he is living up to the demands he is making of other countries. He is constantly preaching that we should stimulate spending, encourage it even. Obama seems to be doing that at least.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lost In Space

Dogs, monkeys, humans, and now spiders in space. Two orb weaving spiders have been sent on a holiday to the International Space Station. Although one of them may not have made it the other is reported as fit and healthy. In fact it isn't quite known what happened to the one as it escaped a few days after launch. Luckily the one that is missing was the back up spider, only required if the chief came to grief. It is interesting that the orb spiders seem to have been rather thrown by the lack of gravity. Instead of their normal beautifully arranged webs, they have spun a tangled mass of threads.

That's one small step for a spider, one giant leap for arachnidkind, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Don't Squeeze

First it was the Mosquito, a noise emitting device that squeaked so high that only teenagers could hear it. The aim was to stop them congregating in certain areas. An aim slightly undone by the fact that teenagers soon realised that recording the sound and using it as a ring tone meant that teacher couldn't hear their phones texting during class. So now we move onto colour lights, more particularly a pink fluorescent light that shows up spots. I am, I have to admit, somewhat dubious. These are kids who go down the local (I was going to say disco but suspect that might age me) night club. If I remember corrrectly those places were packed with fluroescent lights. And especially ones that could highlight every blemish you had. And certainly did not make one flee in embarrassment. So I am fairly sure that the modern day teenager, packed full of more confidence than we were 20 years ago, will be able to cope with a pink light. Of course, if they can't, then they may resort to balaclavas under their hoodies, and that will be even more intimidating.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So Cool

This is so cool. I am in a hotel and blogging from my iPhone. I have nothing to actually say but it is still cool

Monday, March 23, 2009

Suits You Sir

I have finally succumbed. It's taken over 8 years but I can resist it no longer. And what is "it"? Well, I am finally wearing suits to work. Today being the first day. Since I joined I have refused to wear a suit, on the simple enough grounds that "vets don't wear suits", even in industry. But at the weeeknd I went out and bought two new three piece suits (yes three piece, if it's worth doing then it's worth doing properly). I had to buy new suits, not because I don't have any (I already possessed three) but because I don't want to wear the same clothes both in and out of work. From now on it's the new improved (well smart) me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ring Ring

So I am the proud owner of an iPhone. What fun. Ignoring the fact that it doesn't have enough memory for all my music then generally I am very happy with it. And the music thing was always going to be a hard ask, I have almost 19gB = 463 albums = 11.5 days of music on the computer, and growing weekly if not daily. So I am going to have to get cleverer with rating songs and the iPhone will just have those of three stars or more.

For years I have been used to a Motorola RAZR, which was a beautiful phone (I had the one in red, lovely colour, the iTunes one) so this is a bit of a change. But it was dying. Been dropped once too often. And having it unlocked from my old networked didn't help it. So now it was often freezing, the quality of voice was dropping. It really was time to commit to something new.

And for a gadget man this is a great toy. Still trying to find aps, but I have found the one that can match up music titles to whatever is playing. It can even find Harvey and the Wallbangers songs, not exactly the most well known of bands. Then it will give you biographies of the group, discographies etc. Incredible. From an initial slight disappointment (I love my music and want it with me everywhere) I can see that this is just going to grow and grow on me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ah, Bliss

A visit to Whittlebury Spa today. Massage and body scrub as well as the day using the heat and ice rooms. I have had a tough time recently, in all aspects of my life, so I felt that some pampering was necessary. I don't get much pampering, and it seemed a good idea to take it into my own hands. Duly pampered I feel better, and my skin has a healthy glow as an added bonus!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 09, 2009


Recent research has shown that teenagers have a different body clock which drives them to get up later and go to bed later. It is then supposed to become more normal again as you get older. In fact men and women don't have the same up and down times until they are in their late 50's.

So I wonder why mine never reset once I was passed my teens.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Friday, March 06, 2009

Up Ahead

I've never been one for the 5 year plan. Generally lucky these days to make it from day to day. Certainly most days don't turn out quite how I expect them. But lacking a 5 year plan is definitely a draw back when it comes to industry. The line that I enjoy what I do and simply need to keep being given challenges doesn't help people work out where to place me. I get frustrated when I don't feel as though I am moving forward, but my definition of moving forward is "wobbly" at best. And because I do enjoy what I do (most of the time) I tend to be good at taking on extra things while not so good with giving things up. But every so often I take my destiny into my own hands, and each time that has lead to a step forward. Feeling it is time to do so again.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Loch Lomond - Runrig

If you ever see this live I promise you it will give you goosebumps

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines on Loch Lomond.
Where me and my true love spent many many days,
On the banks of Loch Lomond.

Too sad we parted in yon shady glen,
On the steep sides of Ben Lomond.
Where the broken heart knows no second spring,
Resigned we must be when we’re parting.

O ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak’ the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye.
Where me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

Ho, ho mo leannan
Ho mo leannan bhoidheach
repeat 8 times

You'll take the high road and I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye.
Where me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

You'll take the high road and I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore you.
Where me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

You'll take the high road and I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore you.
Where me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

You'll take the high road and I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore you.
Where me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

On bonnie, bonnie banks
repeat 9 times

Hey, Hey, Hey....

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Don't Blink

I am not sure which I would hate to lose more, my sight or my hearing. Gut reaction is sight, but then I think of a silent world with no music and that seems like a very lonely idea. Whichever, I can understand why Ron would be so excited to get at least some vision back after 30 years. There are many things that I would take joy from after 30 years, but being able to sort my socks out would not be top of the list. Even more, I think I might be a bit miffed if my wife thought that the best thing about me being able to see was that I could do the washing. I would hope that I would be talking about going for walks, being able to see the world around me, whereas she's just happy that she can teach him how to use the washing machine.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

So La Te Do

On a day when original masters of recordings made in the early 1900s by Dame Nellie Melba, the biggest singing star of her day, have been discovered, it is strange to consider that one hundred years ago the singers voices were perfection but the recordings were terrible, now the recordings are perfect but the singers are terrible.

Monday, March 02, 2009


I agree that he is getting a lot of money, and seems to be awarded for failing. But I also think that the Sir Fred story is a bit of smoke and mirrors. If Labour can make us concentrate on what is actually, in the scheme of things, a completely irrelevant story then we might just miss the fact that they are using all our money to stoke up the system.

I am, however, fascinated by Harriet Harmans comments. There are two that really do take closer examination. The first is "The prime minister has said that it is not acceptable and therefore it will not be accepted." Now that seems to endue dear old Gordon with rather more power than to which he is entitled. Surely that is the kind of comment you would make about a dictator. It suggests that Gordon can rewqrite the rules to suit himself. Am I mistaken in thinking that the point of a democracy is that no-one is above the law (although recent behaviour by Labour certainly indicates they have lost sight of this rather basic fact). I rather think that Gordon feels that it won't be acceptable for the Conservatives to win the next election, but I am hoping he doesn't think he can stop it happening.

Which brings us rather neatly to her second comment "And it might be enforceable in a court of law, this contract, but it is not enforceable in the court of public opinion." Correct me if I am wrong, and I know people with a better understanding of the law than me happen to read this blog, but surely the point is that the court of law takes precedent over the court of public opinion. I feel that if public opinion still held sway then we would be dunking witches, burning people at the stake, and doing unspeakable things to them with sharp pointy implements.

The problem with politicians is that they are too ready and willing to bend to public opinion. I want my politicians to stand up for what is right. To be the moral weather-vane when the tempests blow. To stand up and tell us that while they understand how we feel they also know that the law protects our culture and our lives. That erosion of small parts of the law simply because society doens't like something is the first step to undermining the entire structure of our being. I need politicians that are willing to be unpopular because they know that being right sometimes means make the unpopular choice.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sleep Tight

It seemed such a good idea at the time. Move "A" into a bigger bedroom so she would have more space. First mistake was deciding this just AFTER have the landing redecorated. No pressure there then when I move the bed. Any damage to the paintwork and guess whose toast. Then the second problem was considering the practicality of the matter. "A" has a bunk bed, one of these bed on top desk underneath things. So there was going to have to be some dismantling first. The theory was a good one, take off the top, bed, part, it is so designed. And all was going well until I got to the last screw. And proceeded to strip the head off it trying to get it undone. So there is now no way of converting this into a low bed for a while until I can move the entire thing.

Hence discussion with daughter about what she wanted. To be fair as she has got a bit older her head has appeared perilously close to the ceiling at times. And too my relief she opted for wanting a normal bed. So instead of a fairly big struggle we went down to IKEA (I know, yet again, we are very good customers and have more boxes for recycling than the rest of the street together). It was an interesting experience, trying to get a 6 year old to choose a bed. But after over an hour we had narrowed the field down. And it was in stock. Great. Wife told me it wouldn't fit in the car, I said it would. We bought said bed. Got to the car. Whoops, car not quite as long as I thought. Not to be defeated I did get it in, but the boot didn't close, and "J"s knees were up to her ears the seat was so far forward.

Got it home. Put it up. And daughter now thinks I am wonderful and loves me dearly because she is in her new room. Still needs decorating, and discussions on that are on-going (the options being two pink walls and two purple walls, or all walls a light blue BUT with a rainbow and clouds and sun (actually at one point she wanted a sunset but I have convinced her that that is a bit too optimistic)).