Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Your Song - Ellie Goulding

I don't normally like covers, and especially not when one of the great somgs of our time. But, well listen and see what you think -

Your Song - Elton John

It's a little bit funny this feeling inside
I'm not one of those who can easily hide
I don't have much money but boy if I did
I'd buy a big house where we both could live

If I was a sculptor, but then again, no
Or a man who makes potions in a travelling show
I know it's not much but it's the best I can do
My gift is my song and this one's for you

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well a few of the verses well they've got me quite cross
But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song
It's for people like you that keep it turned on

So excuse me forgetting but these things I do
You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue
Anyway the thing is what I really mean
Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Bitter Boy - Kate Rusby

There was a boy, a bitter boy,
Who's golden heart I saw gleaming,
I thought I'd win the heart within,
But now I know that I was dreaming.

But I will rise, and I will sing,
Until the day I can't conceal it,
Because I hold the saddest song,
And wish to God I cannot feel it.

Then the boy, the bitter boy,
He came to me for rest and healing,
He reached in his chest, deep in his breast,
Held out the heart for me still gleaming.


Then the boy, me and the boy,
We walked for miles through stormy weather,
Hand in hand, we roamed the land,
And held the gleaming heart together.


Then the boy, the bitter boy,
He came to take the gleaming treasure,
He reached in my chest, deep in my breast,
And took the gleaming heart forever.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Go Flash

Flash scores two against the Wallabies. And the second is an iconic moment, fantastic running from his own 22 in order to score. Beautiful to watch.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Searching For A Scare

Last Saturday we attended a geocache event in Great Brington.  Just, because of the date, this one had a bit of a scary theme.  Although we didn't turn up in fancy dress (we had been watching the Saints beat the Falcons so were in our rugby clothes) many did.  I wonder what the villagers thought to so many ghouls, witches, warlocks and vampires turning up in their rather nice pub.  Anyway, after a nice pub meal we obtained the list of caches that had been especially put out for a night time cache.  Loaded all the co-ordinates in the GPS (seemed a good idea to do this inside rather than in the dark), met up with friends and then set off in the dark.  Not quite enough torches to go around and the kids ran off with most of them, so the grown ups were left making their way down footpaths by moonlight.

Great Brington is where Althorp House is (thus sparking a debate on how it is pronounced, I am sticking to Althrup) so I am surprised that the police weren't out in force as a result of multiple reports of torches in the woods.  There were so many torches flashing around from all the cachers (over 150 I believe) that it was like an invasion.

But the organiser deserves major credit for the thought that went into these caches.  Really went with the theme.  Possibly not too surprising that one was a rat, and one a bat.  A bit more surprising was the severed hand (the cache was called Thing, and had the adults humming the Adams Family tune).  But the real crowning glory was the coffin in the middle of the wood.  Yes, a coffin.  Full sized.  And when opened containing a decaying body.  Oh yes, there was a lot of screaming.  Excellent.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What To Expect At Heathrow!

I hate to advertise for them, but wow:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ship Ahoy (or No)!

I looked up the definition of asute.  I found "having or showing shrewdness and discernment, especially with respect to one's own concerns".  Which makes HMS Asute's name even more ironic.  Here we have a state of the art nuclear submarine, designed to outmanouvre the keenest of the enemies navy and it can't even get out of the way of an island.  It is supposed to be able to circumnavigate the globe underwater but actually getting underwater seems more of a problem.

It certainly seems that Skye boasts a grudge against the navy as this isn't the first time a sub has run aground there.  Perhaps this is an attempt by scottish nationals to develop their own navy by hijacking some passing submarine.  In fact, quite a few of the navy's subs have had collisions in the last 20 or so years.  Maybe they should be fitted with hazard lights.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

With Thanks to Rainbow Dreams

The Invitation ~

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to
be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can
disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Addicted Find

I am sometimes accused of being fanatical. Well, when I say accused, to be honest I would agree. I have a tendency to get VERY involved with something that sparks my interest and might not always have the best sense of moderation. Currently geocaching would fit in this bracket. A supposedly cheap hobby has become an expensive one as I make my own signature items, my own caches, buy geocoins and travelbugs etc etc etc.

So it was nice today, while wandering around London hunting out a few caches, to come across some fellow geocachers and discover that they had flown to London from Sweden for a two day holiday purely to go caching around the capital. Now there's fanaticism!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sunday, September 05, 2010

And Another Thing...

I missed off something else.  I missed it because it hadn't really registered as that exciting.  But I just used Wiki and that has changed my mind.


OK, maybe that sounds a bit weird.

So, Tom Hollander was at Greenbelt this year, and he was doing a bit of filming.  At this point I should put my hands up and say that a) I don't normally get that excited by "celebrities" and b) I usually can't recognise them anyway let alone know what they have been in.

On with the story - it was lunch time and I wondered what to get.  I thought I would try the Westmoreland and Cumberland Sausage company.  I went and stood in the queue.  Slightly annoying, I thought I recognised the person in front of me.  I racked my brains - had he been in my team in a previous year, did I know him from work, even was he a client when I was in practice near here.  All drawing a blank, but I was sure I knew him.  Just as I was about to tap him on the shoulder and say "excuse me, do I know you", someone else walked over and tapped him on the shoulder.  Then they said a weird thing, they said "can you turn more this way".  Odd.  I looked, and there was a film camera.  Penny dropped, this must be the person they were filming (OK, another admission, at this time I didn't know this was Tom Hollander, I had just got as far as realising this was an actor).  We worked our way up the queue.  He went to buy a sausage, but him couldn't quite nail the character, so he wanted to take a moment to compose himself, he told me to go in front of him.  And then, while I was waiting for my sausage, he came to the counter and ordered two, one with onions and one without.

I wandered off, mildly amused but not particularly excited.  I've been on TV before.  I've been interviewed by Sky and the BBC.  So this didn't rank far out of the ordinary.  I did google up the programme and found that it was Tom Hollander.  But this still didn't mean much.  Until just ten minutes ago.  For "J" I thought I would google a picture of Tom Hollander.  I did.  And OMG, he was in Pirates of the Caribbean!!!!!!!!  And I nearly asked him if he had worked in the Support Team!!!!!

So, if you ever see a programme with Tom Hollander buying a sausage then look for me in the background.  I'm the one in the hat.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


I seem to have missed off blogging about Greenbelt this year.  Not entirely sure why.  Maybe it's because I didn't feel I needed to provide Squeak with running commentary as she came as a punter.  Maybe my mind is on other things.  Maybe there was so much water in the form of rain that I was worried it would short circuit any equipment that could access the internet.

Whatever the reason, it was a good year.  As always it went too quickly.  A blink and it was over.  Were there any highlights.  Well, in no particular order:

1)  The campsite sweep - for certain reasons we ended up doing a sweep of the main campsite.  In previous years it has fallen to our team to sweep the helicopter field on the Friday night.  Slight change this year so we ended up doing the central racecourse.  Never again springs to mind.  The helicopter field is a nice rectangle.  Easy to plan, easy to sweep.  The central racecourse is completely out of shape.  Trying to ensure that the sweep is in a straight line, well spread out, and all areas are checked is next to impossible.  No wonder we didn't finish until nearly 0400 hrs.  And to cap it all we didn't get to use the golf buggies!

2) The team of doom - they know who they are.  An all female pairing which worked together for two nights.  They didn't even need to go looking for things to do, trouble came to them.  We'd turn our attnetion elsewhere for 5 minutes and the Team of Doom would pick up yet another shout.  Even when all else was quiet they were managing to find lost children, burning installations, and just general chaos.

3)  Chinese lanterns posing as the ISS - there were a lot of chinese lanterns being let off this year from around the campsite or from outside the campsite.  One team seemed to make it their sole purpose to report these.  However, in an interesting twist, when they were actually asked to investigate one such incident then they quickly decided that it was the International Space Station passing overhead.  Which led to the classic retort from Control "only if its on fire!" 

4)  A thank you card from the team - Zippie and I were both given a card signed by all the members of the team.  A lovely gesture and, don't tell them, really meant a lot to me.

5)  The team - we were missing a few old hands this year.  But we had some new ones, and also one of the grand originals returned (hard to beleieve that the Support Team is in its tenth year).  And they all did really well.  It becomes very easy for Zippie and me, we get bathed in the reflected glory of a job well done by our team.  I am proud to work with them.

6)  The weather - I don't think I have ever tried to put up a tent in as much rain.  And then discovered that the new tent is poorly designed and gets very damp.  Despite this, the weather improved for the festival itself rather than the set up, and we ended up with sun, plus the most incredible rainbow.

7)  Being accused of stealing the FOMs vehicle - on the second day I was approached by a FOM (Festival Operations Manager) to be told that I was using their vehicle.  Turns out they were sulking because I was using a Nissan Navara whereas they had a beaten up Landrover.  Pleased to say, I kept the Nissan!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saltimbanco - Cirque du Soleil

A wonderful afternoon spent watching Saltimbanco. Cirque du Soleil never disappoint. This is one of their older shows and it shows in that it is less overt, but it is none the worse for that. It is beautiful, more beautiful than any of the other shows we have seen, with the possible exception of Allegria.  And it is the simplicity that makes it such a visual feast.  I was enthralled by it all.  If you get the opportunity to see it, then don't miss it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lightspout Hollow - A Geocache Story

Well todays geocache turned into a bit more of an epic than I was originally planning. It was only supposed to be a quick break to my journey. Instead, well read this epic description:

I parked in the National Trust car park. The co-ordinates seemed slightly off, as they seemed to be pointing to parking up near some holiday cottages, but never mind. I then realised that I didn't have my National Trust member sticker as I have changed cars. So I walked up to the shop and explained. I hoped that they would just take my details and that would be that. Instead they wanted to be more helpful and give me a new sticker. So I had to walk back to the car and put the sticker in the windscreen. Now start heading back up the path again. Only to realise I didn't have my camera. So back to the car again. OK, geocaching bag - check, phone - check, camera - check. Here we go. Oh bother, wrong lens on the camera. Back again. So I haven't even got out of the car park and already half a mile added to the trip!

I walk up the path, passed the holiday cottages, and then find an ADDITIONAL car park. Which would be just where the co-ordinates were!!!!!! So I've added even more distance to the trip. But here we go, finally getting into the hills. Arrow pointing up the valley, and let's stretch the legs. Interesting, it seems that the National Trust are taking some PR pictures. Don't stop, not much time. Nice walk, valley is quiet, lack of muggles. I feel positive. Or at least, I feel positive until the GPS arrow starts swinging to the right while the valley starts swinging to the left. It starts to dawn on me that I might be on the wrong side of the hill. Walk a bit further and yes, definitiely the wrong side. OK. There's a path going straight up, I'll use that. Only the path turns out to be a sheep trail. And the sheep trail turns out to not even be that and my route is blocked. On the plus side I get to see a nice little reservoir. I keep on walking for a bit in case there is a path over the hill, but no, it is not going to happen. Time to retrace my steps. Luckily I spot a path that will loop around the bottom of the hill and I don't have to lose the height I have already gained. But that's another mile or so added to the trip as well.

I round the valley head and am faced by hordes of people. Hmm, obviously a bit more popular this side. For a moment I consider stopping there and then, but I decide to hope that the muggles aren't around the waterfall. Onward and upward. And it's looking good, the path divides and it looks as though most people are going right. But very soon I find a bunch of school children coming down the path - or more accurately, the stream as they've decided it is clever to walk down the middle - towards me. That's fine, it's good for kids to get out and meet the countryside. I grew up walking places like this, and I am pleased that they get a chance. Talking of growing up, I didn't used to get this out of breath, how far up is this waterfall anyway?

The distance ticks down on the GPS. Ah, it's got to be just around this corner. Hurray there it is, but oh no, another bunch of school kids all camped out at the base. This is not looking good. I'm not turning back though. And I climb the rocks to the top of the waterfall. Sit down at what appears to be GZ (ground zero)according to the GPS. I start looking from my position to see anything suspicious, all the while hoping that they will go and I can start searching. Good, they're going. But here come another lot. I soon realise that this appears to be muggle central. A school have decided to have a day out. Not just a class, the whole school. And they keep coming in waves. And unfortunately most of them are unruley and very loud. No chance to enjoy nature. Any self respecting animal or bird has now high tailed it out of here. I manage a little search, then another lot coming, and the cheeky blighters shout out something about me needing the RAF rescue! OK, so I was off the beaten track and scrambling a bit, but this was an unneccessary observation. So I sit down again and wait. But they keep coming. I'm now very conscious that this is no longer a quick trip. And I haven't seen anything around GZ that might be a cache. I'm beginning to think that I will need to call it a day. But there is one more place I want to check. The GPS thinks otherwise, but I would kick myself if I didn't try. A short break in the flow of children, and those nearby are more interested in trying to drown each other under the waterfall anyway, carefully and studiously ignoring the instructions from "Miss" who seems to think repeatedly shouting "Connor" will get him to stop acting like a mountain goat! No-ones looking. Leap, jump, scrabble slightly (me, not Connor). What's that. Does that look slightly wrong? I believe it does.

Hazzah. Cache in hand. It needs some maintenance, can't explain exactly what as it would give the game away. But I have it. And I have the Little Quest numbers. Take the crocodile TB, leave sigitem.

All that remains is the walk back, negotiating the children.

This could be a beautiful spot. It could be somewhere to contemplate life. To admire nature. To simply "be". Unfortunately not today. I want children to experience nature, but this lot needed to be locked up, no respect for their teachers or the beauty around them. Sadly, much like golf, this was a good walk spoiled.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lion Invasion

Northampton has been invaded by lions.  This is wonderful.  Called the Pride of Northampton, 40 lions have been designed by artists to grace oour streets.  Now, there have been a few detractors, those who complain about the money spent, but I see this as a vision, an attempt to scale the heights.

I didn't know this was happening.  On Sunday I went in to town for a jazz night only to find myself confronted with these lions.  And I was so impressed.  They are beautiful and so tactile (and in case you wonder, this was BEFORE I had had a drink).  You are drawn to them and to admire them.  They bring life and colour to the streets.  Things of wonder.

Art is not of value in itself.  Its value is in what it does to your soul, how it makes you feel.  This is a project designed to ift us above ourselves and, as such, I love it.

Monday, June 28, 2010


What can I say
To take the pain
To dissolve it
Like salt in water
Until only
A few
Tears remain.

Cool (?)

Sunny day. Cruising along in the Audi A5.  Both windows down.  Tanned arm nonchalantly out the side.  But maybe the street cred blown slightly by "The Archers" blaring out!

Ok, OK,  I know. But I was two episodes behind.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Vanishing Trick

Have you ever had a friend just disappear off the face of the world.  Email, phone, everything suddenly appear to be switched off or disconnected.  It is disconcerting to say the least.  Especially when it's a good friend.  You are left wondering if there is a major earth shattering disaster in their life, or whether it is simply that you have done/said something wrong without realising it.  It's a horrible feeling, it's as though some filaments holding you to the world have been severed and are waving loosely in the breeze.  Not recommended.

Friday, May 28, 2010

When The Pigeon Comes Over The Tree....

Somewhat hard to believe, and sparking a thought that maybe India has April Fools day today, it appears that police are currently holding a pigeon under armed guard.  The pigeons rights are being looked after and there is no torture - it is in a locked but air conditioned cell - but the pigeon is being held for spying.  The pigeon was found in a Punjabi districtneighbouring Pakistan.  As the pigeon had a tag with a Pakistani number on it the police immediately lept to the conclusion that it had been sent in on a spying mission.  I've heard of Pigeon Pie before, now we have Pigeon Spy.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Geocaching has suddenly become more popular in the household.  I don't have to sneak off.  This probably has something to do with one of "A"'s friends being a geocacher so suddenly "A" sees it as a cooler activity than when dad wants to do it.

Yesterda after the IRB Sevens "A" wanted to do some caching.  We found one next to the Thames in a lovely spot - recommend a visit to Marble Hill park.  The went for a bit of a drive.  After a while I stopped to see if there were any nearby.  And there was.  In a wood.  We set off, followed a good path.  And discovered that this wood was quite marshy.  The path was OK but if you strayted off then there were overtones of episodes out of Lord of the Rings.  We were successful in finding the cache, which is good news.  Possibly not so good was that there were mossies the size of zeppelins, very hungry mossies the size of zeppelins.  Now, I have always been one of those people that mossies, midges, and any other blood sucking bug, think look like meals on wheels.  They home in on me, whcih is good news for any companions as they are left alone.  Today my legs are one inflamed mass, and there are sore marks on my back and my arms.  I was eaten alive.

Mind you, I ge the last laugh.  I'm still on warfarin.  I wonder what a mouthful of that stuff does to a mossie!

Sunday, May 09, 2010


I had a three day trip to Scotland with work this week.  I decided to squeeze in a bit of Geocaching. One of the many advantages of the iPhone is that it has a Geocache app.  And this is very handy as it can show you if there are any cahces nearby.  The actual GPS itself isn't quite accurate enough so a dedicated GPS is important (and I want to upgrade to something even better) but it makes a good starting point.  Over the 3 days I managed to get 10 caches, including some in Roslin alog a nice walk to a viaduct.  One of the things I like about Geocaching is that it gets me out and looking around rather than staying in the car.  It's a fun way to explore.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Eeeek eeeek

There I was this evening happily sitting down watching the recording of the Blues vs Wasps when I suddenly saw some movement.  I quite calmly said "should there be a mouse wandering across the floor".  A comment which elicited a small scream from "J" as she rapidly moved her feet off the floor.  I'm gueesing that the dear cats brought the mouse in earlier and it had been hiding under the hi-fi stand waiting for the cats to leave the room - note that thes weren't cats that had been scouring the room searching but had simply been asleep on the chairs".  Once they left he decided it was safe to come out.  As I was trying to work out how to catch him the cats came back in.  Mouse ran under the gas fire - luckily not on.  Cats managed to catch aforesaid mouse - with not a small amount of hissing at me, very possesive of their mice these cats.  Cats then ran into the garage with mouse.  I left them to it.

An hour later going in to the garage it was clear that the cats had managed to lose the mouse again.  I tried to help by tipping up the washing machine and moving things but couldn't see the mouse anywhere.  So I decided to leave them to it.  10 minutes later cats are in the daughters bedroom.  And one of them has a mouse in his mouth.  Which he then drops as I approach.  Great.  Rogue mouse in daughters bedroom.  Daughter asleep.  Cats hissing and growling.  Give the cat a clip round the ears for growling at me.  Spot mouse.  Mouse dives behind Mickey Mouse.  Move Mickey, mouse moves behind horse.  Cats leave room.  As I move the toy horse I wish my daughter didn't have so many cuddly toys on the floor.  Manage to corner mouse.  I say corner, he was trapped between a pad of paper, the bin, a koala and a hat box.  Squash mouse between wall and small collapsible storage thing.  Mouse climbs up and falls into storage thing, which is also full of little soft plushy toys etc.  Drop lid from a tin on top and carry entire thing downstairs, praying that mouse is still in the small collapsible storage thing.  Take it outside, remove lid.  One mouse looking at me, which I tip out on to the ground and it bounds off into the night rain.

Now I am hoping that both sightings were one and the same mouse.  The other possibility seems to be that the cats have decided to keep a mouse in every room for those moments when they get bored!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I don't normally watch Watchdog.  And I'm quite pleased with that.  Unfortunately it was on in the background this evening as I was cooking my dinner and waiting for the leader debate.  And they had an item about mini-pigs.  These are small pigs that people can buy as pets.  Buy as pets to sit on their lap.  Now apparently these pigs grow a bit bigger than people expect.  Then they do things like pull the radiator off the wall.

And I end up yelling at the TV "THEY'RE PIGS, THEY'RE BLOODY PIGS, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT!!!!!!!!"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Support Me

Thanks to the DVT I now have to wear stockings for a couple of years.  Thankfully they are of the "below knee" variety so really are just long socks.  When you are first diagnosed with a DVT you are told that starting to wear stockings within the first 2 weeks of the DVT is important as it reduces damage to the valves in the veins, any longer and long term damage can set in.  So it is a little disappointing to find that it takes the NHS 3-4 weeks to get the stockings for you.

Anyway, the NHS will only provide 1 set of stockings, if you want more then you have to pay for them yourself.  Which is fair enough.  And as the weather warms up then more than one set seems a good idea.  So I rang the supplier today to order some more.  The lady at the other end of the phone is very pleasant.  Takes my order.  Then tells me they will be with me in 2 days.  2 days I say, don't you mean 2 weeks.  Gosh no she says, it doesn't take us that long, 2 days.

Can anyone PLEASE explain why therefore it takes the NHS 3 weeks?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Flying High

I'm trying to work out if you can be "too cautious" when thinking about flying planes through ash.  After all, if you get it wrong it isn't just your ice-cream dropped on the floor is it!

This is one of those "damned if you do and damned if you don't" things.  A similar thing happened with the FMD outbreak in 2007.  The then CVO was put under massive pressure by the industry to lift movement restrictions, being told that she was too cautious.  She responded and lifted the restrictions, only for a new outbreak a week later and further spread of disease.

Now, especially if I was going to be 30000 ft in the air, I would like to think that people WERE being over cautious.  It seems all very well saying that the planes can cope with small amounts of ash in the air, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it isn't spread evenly up there.  What if there's a thicker cloud of it, the pilot would only know when he hit it.  And past experience has shown that ash CAN take engines out.  So overall, caution seems a good thing.

Monday, April 19, 2010

When The Saints

"A" decided that she wanted to write about the Saints.  It seemed an opportunity to set up a new blog.  So we spent some time yesterday designing it, basic ideas from here and I just add the artistic direction.  Then started posting.  She is the author.  I am editor (with varying levels of editing depending on how it is going).  Anyway, I went for a shameless plug on the Saints forum, and this evening we have had 75 hits!  Not bad going.  And some positive feedback whcih is great.  You see the more I can get "A" interested in all things rugby then the more chance I have of continuing to go to matches.  Yes, there is an ulterior motive, but it keeps me happy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Soul Mercy

We all do it.  We all buy things on the web without reading all of the user agreement first.  Tick the box to say yes, with a faint nagging feel that it's wrong but not enough to spend the necessary 5 minutes!  Well, on 1st April, if you bought from GameStation then there is a reasonable chance you just gave away your living soul.  Hidden into their terms and conditions was the following:

"By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from or one of its duly authorised minions."

It appears that around 7500 people made purchases on the day.  It seems hardly any contacted the company to say that would rather not surrender their immortal soul.  If you bought from them on that day and you see letters of fire standing six feet tall in front of your house then you ahd better not read them, it won't just be the bailiff.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saints 38 - Gloucester 23

I had a hard decision today.  I was supposed to be at a Greenbelt ops meeting.  But it is still rugby season and we had a home game against Gloucester.  Compromise time.  I didn't go riding (a big decision) so I could get to the meeting in the morning but I left at lunch time so I could make it to the match.  And, although I miss you all dearly, that was the right decision because it was a great match.

The Saints have been playing an attractive brand of rugby this season, running the ball, counter-attacking.  And some of our opponents have risen to the challenge.  Such a match was today, both sides running, attacking, lookng for the breaks.  Which lead to a match which went from one end of the pitch to the other in the blink of an eye.  An attack, a gamble, lost ball, counter-attack.  Great to watch.  Gloucester supporter behind me said at the end we deserrved to win, but they gave us a run all right.

And at the end a wonderful selfless moment.  Bruce Reihana is the most loved player at the Saints, he has already made sacrifices for the club in that he could have gone back to New Zealand with a chance to get in to the All Blacks, or he could have gone to Munster, but he stayed with us in the lean times.  We all love it when he gets the ball, and cheers of "Bruce Bruce Bruce Bruce" resound around the stadium.  At the end of matches he comes back out and claps us, the fans.  He always has a moment for the children.  A great man.  Today he played as well as ever.  Then, with only 2 minutes to go, he made a break down the wing.  A great run, he stepped passed, or over, tackles.  He made it to the Gloucester try line.  He went over the Gloucester try line.  Then, in a moment no-one believed, rather than take the try himself he passed to Chris Ashton so that Flash could get his hat-trick of the match.  There is no question that Flash deserved the hat-trick, the first two tries being great reading of the game and perfect lines, but Bruce is only 6 points away from scoring 1000 for the club.  He always puts others before himself and is, in every way, a true gentleman who I am proud to have seen playing rugby.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Rounded Picture

It looks as though, come June, Sony will be launching a 3D TV. I have never really understood all the fuss about 3D films anyway. I don't think that it adds much to a film and, in fact, the current trend suggests that the film makers get overly distracted with the effects, trying to ensure things come rushing out at you, and forget the virtue of have a good story with strong acting.

So, with little enthusiasm for 3D films you might imagine that I would not be swept away with the idea of a 3D TV. And you would be right. Despite being a gadget freak and loving the up to date toys, this one is not for me. The idea of having to sit in the privacy of my own house and wear stupid glasses does not grab me. And then let's think it through fully. Considering what is on TV. And I have suddenly thought of the election debates and actually having Gordon standing in my living room. Well there's a horror movie for you, right there. And I have never liked horro films.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


While truly sorry for those trying to fly out tomorrow, I have to say I am extremely releived that it was this week and not last.  I would have been very upset not to go to Munster.  It was last Friday at 1100hrs that we flew from Cardiff so we would have been right in it.  Extremely selfish I know.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On Off

Thinking of going for a pee in the middle of the night.  Stop right there.  Apparently it could give you cancer.  So glad that the Daily Mail are on top of this.  I hadn't realised what a risk I was putting myself at.  Now I have to work out whether I want to fall down the stairs in the dark or simply wet the bed.  Except, IT'S NOT TRUE.  The science editor for the Daily Mail should be taken out and shot at dawn for completely misrepresenting some scientific findings.  The University of Leicester have been quick to explain that the report is a load of tosh (scientific term there).  It looks as though going to the toilet for one hour and using a bright light MAY be a risk, but that doesn't describe what most of us do at 3am if we are unfortunate enough to ahve to go, when we stagger to the bathroom, keep our eyes half closed, and get it over with as quickly as possible.  So we can rest easy, go when we want, and not have to wake up to a wet patch.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Munster Mash

Well what a weekend trip.  Immense fun and a good example of why rugby union is such a good game.

Northampton Saints managed to get through to the Heineken Cup quarter finals a month or so ago.  We were the only english team to get through but we were at the bottom of the 8, so we were drawn against Munster at Thomond Park (their home ground).  Tickets were scarce but one night, with a rush of blood (or whisky) to the head, I entered the ballot.  And we got three tickets.  I then realised just how much the trip was going to cost, what with flights, hotel, car hire etc.  But in for a penny etc etc.

Last weekend was the trip, and we got back today.  And it was so much fun, despite losing.

First off we were flying from Cardiff to Cork.  We went from Cardiff because I had some work over there.  We arrived at Cardiff airport on Friday morning and checked in.  Then we went up to the departure gates.  Only to realise that we were surrounded by Ospreys players who were off to Biarritz.  I am not a great Ospreys fan, mainly because of their supporters, by they do have some players that I greatly admire.  So to find myself sitting having a cup of coffee while the table next to me had James Hook and Mike Phillips also having a drink, to watch Adam Jones shopping in duty free, to stand next to Ian Gough, was like a dream.  There were all the others as well, names you would know well, but these were the names that I was in awe of.

A good start then.  Arrived in Cork, hired the car and started the drive to Charleville where we were staying.  Only to find that we were driving past Blarney Castle.  So we had to stop there didn't we.  And yes I kissed the Blarney Stone (and no, I really don't care if locals have pee'd on it).

The next morning we got up and took a taxi to Limerick.  And was duly stunned at the number of Munster flags everywhere.  This is a city that lives and breathes rugby.  And the Munster fans were already wandering around in their Munster tops, and we were wandering around in our Saints tops, and everything was so friendly - and this is where rugby scores so highly above football, we could mix and mingle freely and happy to see each other.  We went to Clohessys bar where all the Saints were meeting, and picked up our flags.  We wandered around the city for a while before making our way to Thomond Park.  Of course we fitted in a Guiness or two as well.

The match itself was something else.  Thomond Park holds twice as many spectators as Franklins Gardens,  The noise was incredible.  You cannot begin to believe it until you sit there with Munster fans shouting from all around you.  The noise fills your body.  In fact it scared the life out of my daughter, so much so that we told her we could go, but she didn't want to.  And though we lost in the end, at half-time the Saints were ahead, and for a moment, a brief moment, the Munster hordes were silenced and 6000 Saints could be heard singing.  A glorious moment.  We left defeated but still proud to be Saints, and swapped flags with Munster supporters on the way out.

The next day we made a trip to Tipperary (which is, of course, a ong way to go).  Then headed back to Cork ariport.  As we were standing to board the plane I noticed the guys ahead of us had WRU clothes and bags.  I pointed them out to "J" and said I thought I recognised them.  Turned out they were the ref and other officials from the match!  So "A" had to speak to them when we landed and waiting to collect our bags.  She even got Nigel Owens autograph, and he gave here a WSRUR pin batch, which she can wear on her hat with all her other badges.

Yes we lost.  Yes it cost a lot of money.  But the experience was priceless!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Oh When The Saints

One more sleep to go and I'm flying out to Cork.  Two more sleeps to go and it is the Heinekan Cup Quarter Final Munster vs Saints.  I am so excited that I am having dreams AND nightmares about it.  About the flight, about missing the flight, about the match, about being in Ireland.  I can't sit still, my leg keeps jiggling.  Any spare second and I am thinking about the match.  Oh dear, I think I've become obsessed.

Monday, April 05, 2010

One, Two, Three

The way I approach work and the way I approach home are markedly, and even surprisingly, different.  When I went for my interview, many years ago, I was asked what my desk at work would look like.  I said it would be covered with papers and things, basing it on what I knew I was like at home.  In reality I have one of the tidiest desks in the office, my email in-box is kept to a minimum (if I have over 5 emails then that's a lot), and I have "to do" lists to work from.  I know there is no other way for me, I need to keep things rolling, it is easier and better to multitask, thus making sure all the plates remain spinning, than to stop and spend too long on one thing.

At home it is rather different.  I put something down and then I can forget about it for weeks, even months.  I know that things need to be done around the house, but I get distracted too easily.  I am a magpie, easily distracted by shimmery things!  So it was a pleasant surprise today to have a list to work from AND TO DO IT ALL.  Now, I admit, it was nothing too grand.  I put up pictures in my daughters room, I put up a clock in her room (OK, technically this was part of the same activity, but I want extra credit because a clock is not a picture), I put pictures up in to the attic, I helped clean up a pile of things in the corner of the conservatory, I booked tickets for the Royal Windsor Horse Show.  I rocked.  Very satisfying.

Friday, April 02, 2010

One Blink

We were supposed to just have a quiet day today.  "A" has been tired recently, although she won't admit it.  So having a quiet day seemd a good idea.  Which makes it all the more mystifying where the day has gone!  Unfortunately I do suffer from rushes of blood to the head (hence off to Limerick in a weeks time, a ridiculous amount to end up paying for a rugby match, what with tickets, flight, car hire and hotel).  And I had a such a rush today, deciding suddenly that a trip to the cinema would be good.  At 1210 hrs we were sitting down in front of "Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang".  This then had to be followed by lunch out.  By the time we got home the day had almost gone.

Now, I don't recommend the "Nanny McPhee" film.  The first one was OK but this was more predictable than not.  And easily eclipsed by "Alice in Wonderland".  A burping crow cannot compete with a Mad Hatter.  A cameo appearenace by Bill Bailey did raise a smile, but was not enough to rescue the entire film.  "A" is becoming more discerning as well and didn't think much of it by the end.  Mind you, did see a trailer for "Despicable Me".  I don't really know what it is about, but the fact it has the music from Reservoir Dogs means I want to see it!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

What's that coming over the hill...

I love being a Saint, and Tiny has confirmed a three year deal with the Saints, leaving a sorry Sarries behind.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Tiny Step

This year has gone fairly well for the Saints so far.  We won the LV Cup.  The only english team through to the quarter finals of the Heinekan Cup.  Sitting second in the Guiness Premiership.  There was a cloud however.  Tiny (Soane Tonga'uiha as his real name, you can see why we opt for Tiny) had signed for the Saracens for next season.  Now the Saints had taken Tiny from Bedford as a slow and overweight prop.  Now he is a prop with a desire to be a wing!  Well, OK, that's an exagerration but his intercept and break during the LV Cup final was incredible, he ran almost the whole length of the pitch.  The point is that he is now up there as one of the best in the premiership and we were going to miss him.

Somehow something that started as a rumour, that Tiny had changed his mind and wanted to stay, has got more and more momentum.  It's looking as though he is doing his best, but it is annoying the Sarries quite a bit.  It's exciting news and I believe that the input from the fans, with threads on the Saints forum and even a petition on Facebook, has had a big impact on his decision.  Unfortunately it is likely to get ugly before it gets pretty.  I hope it doesn't distract the players for the rest of the season.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Big Bang

So, while there remains an outside chance that we have all slipped into an alternate reality, it appears that the Large Hadron Collider is finally a success. It's taken a lot longer than planned but cheering was heard within CERN today as the scientists managed to collide protons at previously unimagined speeds. After all the fuss, including an interesting theory that time travellers were coming back and sabotaging the LHC because success would have destroyed the world (there's a Star Trek sized time paradox if ever I've seen one) and another that God himself was breaking it (presumably in a fit of peak that he didn't have one when he created the universe as it would have been quicker so he could have had a long weekend off rather than just Sunday), it was somewhat uneventful. At least, I'm fairly sure that wasn't a black hole on the M1 thus evening as I returned from work.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Drawn Swords

A very happy man tonight. I had an interview for joining Knights Templar. This is something I have been interested in for a long time. The Knights have a long and interesting history. The first global bankers. The origin of "Friday the 13th" being unlucky. Roslyn chapel. So many interwoven pieces to put together. AND I get a sword!

I just hope I don't meet the Pope or the French king.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rest Time

Now that was an intense weekend. It felt that as soon as I was in the house then it was time to go out again. Fitted in 2 birthday parties, riding, cycling, rugby, lunch out, making muffins, a basketball match, and a jazz evening. And all this when we lose an hours sleep. I think I need the week to begin so I can have a rest.

Of course most of it was for "A" (not the jazz evening, that was me time). Who ended up so tired that I don't think we ended up with due credit for being a taxi service. This is the thanks you get for being a parent! A child protesting wildly that she isn't tired and then crying because she hasn't had a chance to go out and play with her friends. But I wil take an opportunity to say congratulations to her and her school friends, who won the basketball competition (it was quarter finals), defeeating all the other three schools they were up against. Not sure that the rather loud support I provided was appreciated though. Does shouting "Go A, Go A, Go A" while doing a little dance count as embarassing your kids?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Trotting On

Riding is still a big part of my daughters life, and of mine as well. Normally though my chances of riding revolve around hers. So when she has a 45 minute lesson every Saturday then I can sneak in a 30 minute lesson as well. And that's fine, I am happy with that. However today "A" had a party to go to and thus couldn't come riding. I was not going to take her to the party though as it involved having hair and nails done, and make-up and other girly things. So I booked myself an hours hack.

And it was really enjoyable. It was lovely to be able to go out for a ride without having to "learn" all the time. It was lovely to be able to go out on the roads rather than be stuck in the school. It was lovely to be riding for a whole hour. OK, so the fields are too wet for us to go cantering, but it was nice to just be out. Pleasant day.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Blues and Twos

It is with great disappointment that I heard the news that "The Bill" is to be axed. To be honest, 6 months or so ago then I wouldn't have been at all concerned. But the new format is really good. I started watching The Bill when it was first aired. It was good drama, well thought out, with strong story lines. I continued to watch for probably about 15 years. But gradually it became more and more of a soap rather than a drama. And the more it tried to compete with Eastenders then the worse it became. Eventually it was no longer worth watching. But about 6 months ago they announced that they were changing back to once a week and hour long episodes. Well, there's not much else on TV these days so give it a go I thought. And what I found was that they had gone back to a drama format not a soap. And the new format is good, really good. Stories are complex, and don't always end as you would expect. There is enough connection between episodes, with some story lines going over a couple of weeks. I will actually miss it when it goes.

Clean Up

Just about every hotel now has a sign in the bathroom which reads something like "ooo, we really really care about the environment so we will only wash your towels if they really really need it in order to save water". However the reality is that what those signs mean is "ooo, we can save money if we don't wash your towels so unless you leave them specifically in the bath then don't expect nice clean ones!"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Biffy Clyro - Bubbles

OK, it's not the best of quality, but I used to love gigs at the Barrowlands.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Toyota have some adverts on the radio at the moment. Clearly designed to encourage buyers to come back to them. The idea is to convince us everything is fixed. They end with a statement "now we're going". I thought the problem was that they couldn't stop!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Saints 30- 24 Gloucester

Last season my daughter started enjoying rugby and supporting the Northampton Saints. This has proved a wonderful thing for me as I have been able to go to almost every home match this season, and even managed to start mixing in some away games. Well today was the final of the LV= Cup, played at the Worcester ground. Now, last year I was at the same final, it was at Twickers, but by coincidence it was against Gloucester. Last year Cardiff Blues trounced the cherry and whites, so I headed towards todays game thinking I would be lucky to be on the winning team two years in a row. This was not helped by Shane Geraghty being put at full back. Shane is an enigma at the best of times, sometimes sublime and sometimes substandard. To put him at full back, out of position was either an act of genius or madness.

What a game. Last year ended up quite a fun affair. The Blues ran in trys for fun and it was an "easy" game to watch. Today was nip and tuck. At times Gloucester were in the lead. Then the Saints would come back. Then the pressure would build again. It so could have gone any direction. I have no voice left (which could be interesting as I have a few presentations to do this week) and my nails are nibbled to the quick. But, in the end, we won. I do have some sympathy for Gloucester, their record is not great in these events, but they played their hearts out. Ultimately though, what makes the Saints so good at the moment, and what fosters incredible loyalty amongst their supporters, is that they really are a close team who are their for each other. It isn't that one man stands above the others but that every one of them throws everything they can into the game.

There were some wonderful moments. "Tiny" (a prop, a very large prop) making a break and runing almost the length of the field. On TV you see him smiling to start with and then the smile changing to concern as his engine fades - props are just not supposed to run that far. A great try by Lee Dickson - so deserved, no-one else puts his body on the line so often. Shane under the high ball - being targetted by Gloucester and showing that he can't be intimidated. Roger Wilson making breaks. All absolutely stunning to watch. A day where my nerves couldn't have taken another 5 minutes, the last two minutes of the game stretching for eternity when the whole game was over in a flash. So enjoyable.

Once again I can say "I was there".

Friday, March 19, 2010


Those who follow me on Facebook or Plurk will know by now that I was recently diagnosed with a DVT. The full story is as follows:

Back in the second week of January we were at a conference. After an enjoyable night including dancing and a generous flow of alcohol, I went to bed. Approximately two hours later Iwoke to the most excrutiating pain in my left leg, like the worlds worst cramp. No more sleep for me that night, and when I got out of bed in the morning I nearly fell over as I couldn't put weight on my leg. However I found that the more I moved around then the easier it became. I managed until the night when, after 30-60 minutes of lying down, the cramp started again. Anyway, another night without sleep, but made it through the next day and drove home. A day or two later the pain was easier, especially if I kept moving and even going down the gym, but I noticed my leg was swollen. And I mean really really swollen.

I'm not a fan of doctors. There are probably a few reasons for this, not least a psychological one that my father was a doctor and yet smoked himself to death before I was 10. I suspect there might be some lingering resentment! I was therefore reticent to go to the doctor. After all, the leg was improving (barr the swelling) so why bother them. I could get around well enough. I kept on riding. Describing the symptoms to medical friends and family, it just wasn't a DVT, there were no precipitating factors, no reason I should have one, and it didn't act like one either. If anything the pain was in my ankle and heel, other than that the twinges just shifted around.

After about 6 weeks I decided that I had had enough of my mother nagging me to see the doctor. By this time she had decided that my leg was going to drop off. I went to my doctor ad within 10 seconds of me walking in he had decided it was a DVT without even examining me. That was a sure way to wind me up. I said I thought it might be a deep infection and he agreed to put me on antibiotics. I made an appointment to see him again in a week.

The swelling went down a bit on the antibiotics, but the reality was it was still an unusual looking leg. So I went for my appointment. Minor problem, I turned p at 1910hrs, when I beleived my appointment was, but it had actually been at 1030hrs. Not entirely sure how I got that wrong. Despite the fact that the surgery was empty the doctor refused to see me. I left muttering something about being paid to do nothing with tax payers money, and resolved to find a new doctors. Which I did. But it took more time.

So another week or so passes, and I go to see my new doctor. I get examined. He doesn't think it is typical of a DVT but he can't think of anything else so feels I should start on heparin. Unfortunately it is too late for me to have heparin there so he sends me to the out of hours doctors at the hospital. Who are more than somewhat surprised that I have been sent to them for heparin injections. Partly because they don't think it is a DVT and partly because that isn't the arrangement they have. Anyway, after about an hour and a half I get my injection and we send a form to the DVT clinic so I can get checked the next day.

The next day arrives and I go down the DVT clinic. Where everyone is very nice, probably aided by the fact that there are no doctors around. They assess me, check me over, and announce it isn't a DVT and I can go home. At which point I beg to be scanned. Not because I now beleive I ahve a DVT but because I want proof for the doctors. So the nurse calls the scanning department, who initially say it isn't a DVT so why scan me. Luckily they are quiet and they have a trainee who needs practice. So they let me go down. The scanning proceeds in a very jovial manner (although I wished my underwear was tighter around the leg area, the probe got very intimate) and we are beginning to talk about other things when there is a sudden tone of surprise in the voice of the scanner as she announces that she has found a DVT. And then a second one. One in the ankle and one at the back of the knee. When she gave me my forms back I think the term she used was that I had "bamboozled" them.

Two things annoyed me at this point. One was that the doctor was right. The second was that I wouldn't be able to go to Munster for the Heinekan Cup Quarter Final. The second is now sorted, I am on the warfarin and a nurse told me I can fly to Ireland. The first, well the doctor wasn't right - I have two not one DVT!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What a Shock

This, getting people to deliver electric shocks to other, is not actually new. It is a repeat of a psychology experiment done back in the 60's. It was done in order to explain how Nazis committed atrocities and sows how the human mind can disassociate responsibility when told to do something by an "authority". The study was conducted by Stanley Migram. 65%, yes that's right, 65% of people were willing to deliver what they expected to be a lethal electric shock. What drove them to do it, simply verbal encouragement from a man in a white coat.

So we've known this for 50 years. Why would we even be surprised that people will do the unexpected, perform outside the "norm", when on TV. The television has taken over our world. It tells us what to believe, it shows us what is happening, it provides our pleasure and our grief. It plays with our emotions. So, in this experiment, contestants believe that they are administering shocks to other competitors in order to win a game show. And they do so becasue it is what is asked of them and what they sgned up for. What's possibly more shocking is how we will happily watch programmes that involve pain being done to others. The japanese shows seem to take it further than others, but Total Wipeout is an amazingly big success world wide. Bog Brother is just another variant, it is watched because people suffer.

Many have tried to achieve world domination over the centuries, and failed. The television has succeeded.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ben and Una

Ben Foden, when not playing as full back for the Saints, is going out with Una Healy from The Saturdays. What do they get up to? Well, it appears, singing:

He has got a lot of flack from this. I think that is the little geen monster kicking in for some people. He actually sings better than most people on the X Factor!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


If I can't
Make you,
Can't open your eyes,
To see the me
Waving, shouting, screaming
From deep within


I'll open
My skin




Finding a path
Through multitudinous scars

One more wave
As I lie
In crimson waves

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Churned Up

Sitting down to dinner tonight at a Rose Croix meeting I asked for the butter as I do like something spread on my roll. The plate was passed down and on it were a number of little individual butter packs. You know the sort of thing I mean, the ones packed in the kind of papery foil (I so wish I knew what an individually packed cuboid of butter was called). Anyway, turned it over to open it. And there was a warning. The warning read "Warning - Contains Milk"!!!!!!!!!

Now I have one of two options here. First is that they have to protect themselves because someone would sue them if they didn't say it. The second is the possibility that some people don't know that butter comes from milk. Neither possibility makes me think much of the human race. I despair at where our progressive society has got us.

Who'd Have Known - Lily Allen

My Love - Steeleye Span

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Please Sir

This made me smile. The school newsletter has just come out. It gives us information about the school, what the pupils have been up to etc. One section starts off by telling us that the school fish tank is getting rather aged. O-Oh the hardened parent thinks. This sounds like a plea for money. But no, read further. Because the curriculum has come to rescue us. As part of their litercy work year 6 have all (yes all) written letters to a local aquatic store to tell them of the schools plight. And, this is the great bit, they were successful and have been given a very nice, very large, and very expensive, fish tank. So now, on school time, our children are being taught how to beg, just right to prepare them for a life on the streets!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Flying High

Honestly, I tried to resist, but after a day of it playing on my mind I can't help it - so those involved with the space shuttle were all flying high then. As if space isn't high enough, someone had to go a it further. Cocaine has been found in a restricted access hanger for the Space Shuttle. Now what really concerns me is if they are careless enough to drop their bag of coke then what else might they have forgotten, someone had better check the wheels are screwed on.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's A Riot

This is so unfair. There the police were just having some fun and they got in trouble for it. I mean, come on, it's snow, we all should have a kid hidden somewhere inside of us just waiting for snow so you can get out there and throw snowballs or go sledging. And if you have a nearby hill then you HAVE to find the nearest thing at hand that can double as a sledge. I thing using riot shields shows initiative. And just look at how far they go, this is wonderful. I really really really don't think that they should have been admonished. This showed a willingness to be part of the community, to have fun, to share. If anything I think they should have been congratulated.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I blame myself, really I do. People were asking me yesterday how the A5 was coping with the snow and I said fine, no problem. It was
almost predictable then that I would have a problem today. I say I almost got stuck, it was almost because I did manage to get away without assistance, but it took me approximately half an hour, with a seven year old in the car getting agitated.
We set off for ridin this morning at about 0815 hrs, there had been a light dusting of powdery snow which made the roads slippier than usual. As I approached the stable I slowed and braked but the car kept going. I had to make a choice, to try and get through the gate anyway or to overshoot. I took the overshoot option. The problem being that the stables are on a hill. I couldn't get enough purchaser to reverse up the hill to the stables so I went down a bit further, hoping to find better grip. A futile hope it transpired. So I stopped in the lay-by and went riding.
On finishing riding I now had the dilemma if how to get away. And instead of getting away, every attempt saw me go further and further down the hill. I finally ended up in the bottom of the dip, faced with a steep climb. I decided to try it and almost made it but feet from the top lost grip. So back down again. I managed to turn the car and went back at the original hill. Almost made it but then a car was coming towards me, and he wasn't going to stop so I had to move over and again lost traction. This time trying to get away from the verge things went really wrong and suddenly I was straddlled at 90 degrees to the road. At the point "A" kind of lost it a bit, and I have to say that really did not help! Anyway managed to get pointing down the hill again and off we went. Another run at the hill. Almost to the top. Wheels starting to spin. Me desperately swinging the steering from side to side in an attempt to find any grip that might be there. And suddenly we were passed the worst. Still a slight incline but OK. Until another car started coming down the hill and again wasn't going to even try and stop. Trying not to swear in front of my daughter was not easy. But we made it.
I used every trick I knew plus a few. My daughter thinks I am a great driver because we got away. Personally I am annoyed with myself because I don't think we should have ended up in the problem anyway.
But something I have noticed over the last few months. It used to be etiquette that the car coming down a hill should give way. Even more so when the road is snowy or icy. But somehow no-one does that any more.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Brass Monkeys

It is often difficult to get succinct and yet understandable explanations of things. I was thus very pleased listening to the news, when they summed up concisely why we can have global warming and the great freeze at the same time. So simple:

"the great freeze is "weather" while global warming is "climate", weather is day to day and climate is over 30 years"

Ta daaa

Thursday, January 07, 2010


If I could harness
The lightning
From a thousand storms
I'd use them
To light your way
With giant
Disco balls

Get The Garlic

I hear rumours that "Being Human" is coming back this weekend. Finally, something worth watching.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Odd One Out

So the bookies are finally moving to decimal. Personally I am not a betting man, at least not on the horses, but I am disappointed by this change. Not because it is tradition or anything. But the reason why. It is because younger people can't cope with fractions. Hang on, let's hear that again, yes, when interviewed this morning a spokesman said that people had problems with fractions. What are we teaching in school if people can't do fractions! There seems to be some confusion between the fact that currency went decimal and the fact that they are going to use decimals. This is different use of the word. The fact that currency is decimal does not mean that fractions are no longer relevant. In fact, anyone with a basic understanding of maths is able to work it out for themselves. Education is going to the dogs!

Friday, January 01, 2010


Well, the solace comes from having watched a good film a few days ago, namely Star Trek. It certainly doesn't come from having watched the latest Bond movie. It would be wrong to say I had been waiting for Quantum of Solace with anticipation, I had found Casino Royale disappointing and don't consider Daniel Craig a credible Bond, but maybe I had been waiting with interest. I had hoped this would be better. A splintered story line, frenzied and frenetic filming, and weak screen presence all lead up to a film that it was easy to pause while going to make coffee, or any other distraction that came along. I don't know if there is another Bond in the pipeline, if so I hope for a new actor and a stronger story next time.

This compares sharply with Star Trek. I have never watched any of the previous films, and really mostly enjoy Deep Space 9 which is a bit of an aberration in the Star Trek universe (more like Babylon 5, and I was a fan of B5 well before I was of ST). But I thought I would give this one a go. And very glad I am too. This time a strong story, strong characters, and a liberal splicing of comedy, made this a film that passed by quickly, no thoughts of pausing for coffee with this one. The two films are chalk and cheese.

Biffy Clyro - The Captain

I can't decide if I like Biffy Clyro or not