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.