Saturday, 31 October 2009

Ghosties and ghoulies and long legged beasties

A warm welcome to a new 'friend' Anglesey Allsorts from Wales, enjoy your visits.

"From ghosties and ghoulies and long legged beasties and things that go bump in the night, Dear Lord deliver us."

A prayer remembered (and still used) from my childhood. Perhaps tonight, through the misty sacred darkness, spiritual thoughts abound around this land of superstitious souls as we remember those who have passed before us on this, All Hallows Eve.

Last night (Friday) a myself and a friend supported Shirley Ann Summerwill and Barry Chessman at a colleague and friends house in Hull to clear what was an issue around a nuisance spirit. The house is a new one, built only a couple of years ago, yet strange and unexplained occurrences were disturbing the peace and tranquility of this beautiful home. It transpired, after an investigation lasting about an hour and fifteen minutes that the tense and worried spirit of a lady was in the house looking for her lost son. Her son had died around the vicinity of the house, drowned in fact on this previous boggy land with a nearby river many, many decades ago.

The woman was frantic in her searches and often pulled duvets aside, manifested in orbs in a bedroom, showed as a face at the window and switched lights on in the search for her boy.
The boy's father in spirit was also present and the woman spirit was clearly concerned because it appeared that the father blamed the mother for the death of their child. The child was concerned because the of his fathers angry attitude.

Without going into detail, spirits were shown the light, and encouraged to move on. With continued support, this nuisance will have not only have disappeared through our visit but will stay away for good allowing the house to return to fulfill it's purpose, providing a loving family home.

A good deed for the month on the eve of All Hallows Eve.

Sleep tight

Chat soon


Thursday, 29 October 2009

Love and Marriage, goes together like... erm...

I think I've read it all now. Somalian man Ahmed Muhamed Dore has decided to marry a woman from the same village as him, 17 year old Safia Abdulleh. Awwww ain't love grand; Well to be precise, great great grand because Mr Dore is 112 years old and dear little Safia is as old as his great-great-grand children.

His oldest child is 80 years old and he has 114 children, grandchildren etc., and is looking to have more kids. Having been married five times already, the BBC reported Mr Dore saying, "I didn't force her, but used my experience to convince her of my love; and then we agreed to marry." In a briefer, less lyrical response the bride issued a statement through her family which said the bride is "...happy with her new husband."

"Today God helped me realise my dream," Mr Dore said, after the wedding in the region of Galguduud, wrote the BBC. I bet he did!

It sort of makes you shiver thinking about it doesn't it?

This reminds me of another story recently, also reported on the Beeb: A 107-year-old Malaysian woman has said she wants to get married again, for the 23rd time, as she fears her husband wants to leave her, says a report. When Wook Kundor married four years ago to a man 70 years her junior their wedding photos made regional media. But now she fears her husband will not return home after completing treatment for drug addiction in Kuala Lumpur

Perhaps there's a clue there: drug addiction?

I thought we'd have a look at men and women again*, a recurring theme throughout this blog with a warning of a slightly adult theme, but then you were never that sensitive about such things were you?


Men are like blenders - you need one, but you're not quite sure why;
Men are like cement - after getting laid, they take ages to get hard;
Men are like commercials - you can't believe anything they say;
Men are like horoscopes - they always tell you what to do and are almost always wrong;
Men are like snow storms - you never know when they're coming, how many inches you'll get or how long it'll last.


It's great to be a woman because...

You're not expected to know how cars work;
You can give 'the look' which makes any man cower in a corner;
You get gifts all the time because men mess up so often;
You don't have to understand the offside rule;
PMT is a legal defence to murder;
You wee sitting down, so it's easier to pass out on the toilet when drunk.

Chat soon

Thanks to Geoff Tibballs

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Hang-er left

I hope you had a great weekend; I have a few spare minutes before having a delicious liver and sausage meal for tea then going out to the psychic circle.

I was prompted to write this blog on a peculiar subject, only because I was clearing out the computer room of junk ready for decorating soon, when I came across a coat hanger and thinking what the hell it was doing in the computer room.

My other half always says 'yes' when an assistant in the clothes shops ask if we want to keep the hanger. I can remember bagging up some metal coat hangers a few years back and we collected hundreds which went to the metal bin at the tip. Friend Gemma says I have too much time on my hands, which is sadly not true, but tonight, determined to bottom this issue, I counted the hangers in the house.

Take a deep breath:

Eldest son's bedroom, 41
Middle son's bedroom 49

Youngest son's bedroom 44

My wardrobe 94

Wife's wardrobe 107

In the washing basket ready for ironed clothes 33

Coats 11

Garage 2

Computer room 1
Living room 1
Making a grand total of 383 coat hangers in our household!

Before you ask why a bloke has got so many coat hangers, it's not because I have masses of clothes, but all my shirts, jumpers and trousers are on hangers too - honest!

It's a while since I did a quote, but here is one by Sir Cecil Beaton on the subject of mini-skirts:

"Never in the history of fashion has so little material been raised so high to reveal so much that needs to be covered so badly."

Chat soon


Saturday, 24 October 2009

Geek in Disguise

Now, I'm not technically minded to to the point of geekiness, but I can drive a computer reasonably well as a user. What I've never done is fiddled around with a computer's settings just in case it all goes horribly wrong and I can't mend it!

So, the very much simpler Windows 7 has just come out - the new update operating system from Microsoft. I did have the dreaded complex and temperamental Vista on my machine, having said that it never caused me many problems at all and certainly nothing severe. However, because Vista takes a lot out of your computer and uses a lot of space on your disk, I thought I would give it a go for the sake of £65 from PC World, although you can get it cheaper elsewhere by a fiver or so if you shop around.

I won't go into the technical blurb, save to say, read some articles and download Windows 7 compatibility checker. This tells you what will and won't work in Windows 7 on your computer and what you might have to uninstall during the upgrade.

I did exactly what it said on the tin, backed up all my data onto an external hard drive (you don't want to lose all your pictures and music etc., if it all goes bang) and after about two and a half hours it all loaded tickerty-boo without a hitch. It kept all my programmes and settings, so I didn't have to type in loads of passwords, settings or reinstall programmes - wahaaaaaaaaaay!

Performance? Great and so much quicker.

What a horrible day weather-wise? We did some shopping in Hull to upgrade our mobiles after the contract was coming to an end and we bought our son a suit followed by doing the family grocery shop.

This afternoon, through the drizzle, I have had the pleasure of the company of my other half and we've tidied my computer room. This has involved shredding in the main and finding things I thought I'd long lost. We've also had a visit from good friends Shirley Ann and Barry who were in the area shopping. We're going to see a drumming show next weekend with them at the City Hall in Hull by Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers

This is described in the blurb as: A spectacular concert of heart-pounding excitement, and an unmissable opportunity to see this innovative and visually stunning group as they celebrate their 15 year anniversary. Thundering rhythms on huge taiko drums interweave with layers of percussive soundscapes and delicate bamboo flute in a spellbinding display of precise choreography & sheer athleticism. Through years of rigorous touring, Mugenkyo have developed a gritty passionate style that is uniquely their own, retaining the traditional spirit of taiko yet creating a contemporary sound and a modern stage show that has captivated audiences everywhere...

I'll let you know how it goes.

Here are some light bulb lines - 'how many does it take' etc...

How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?
Only one, but the bulb has really got to want to change.

How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
Only one, they don't like to share the spotlight.

How many movie directors does it take to change a light bulb?
Only one, but he wants do do it 19 times.

How many fishermen does it take to change a light bulb?
Only one, but you should have seen the bulb - it was this big!

How many divorced men does it take to change a light bulb?
Who knows, they never get to keep the house.

How many divorced women does it take to change a light bulb?
Four, one to change the bulb and three to form a support group.

How does a spoilt little rich girl change a light bulb?
She says, "Daddy I want a new apartment."

Why does it take three women with PMT to change a light bulb?
It just does, ok?!?!

Chat soon, (don't forget to put your clocks back.)


Friday, 23 October 2009

What Every Woman Knows and Men Need to Learn

The season for late outdoor parties with Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes night, Fireworks night etc...) is about to take place with the BBQs having their last outing of the year.

When a man volunteers to do the BBQ, the following chain of events are generally put into motion:


(1) The woman buys the food;
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables and makes dessert;
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand;
(4) The woman remains outside the compulsory three metre exclusion zone where the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities can take place without the interference of the woman.

Here comes the important part:


More routine...

(6) The woman goes inside to organise the plates and cutlery;
(7) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he flips the meat;

Important again:


More routine...

(9) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauce and brings them to the table;
(10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes;

And most important of all:

(11) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts;
(12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed her 'night off ', and, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women.

Chat soon, have a great weekend!

(Thanks to Janet 'A' for her insight and her restraint)

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Friends, Romans, Countrymen; lend me your brolly!

Hello this wet and rainy Wednesday from the East Riding of Yorkshire in the UK.

A special hello to my colleagues, the brilliant and modern mum Gemma, who reads this blog during her very busy life currently looking after two very young and adorable children and to my colleage Emma, the breath of fresh air in the upper corridors - an official welcome to both.

What a busy few days since I last blogged on Saturday night. I spent Monday night in the wilds of Lincolnshire lecturing with a retired colleague on media issues to twenty switched on press office and PR cookies, a throw-back from a former life, but it gets me out twice a year into a different environment and I meet new people and reacquaint myself with old and dear colleagues who run the course. After a very comfortable stay over, I stayed in Lincoln the following morning having decided to take the day off (my diet went out the window, not with the excellent food provided at the college which I was very careful with, but because of the five glasses of free white wine which I was not careful with and which I am not used to since I've virtually cut alcohol out.)

Tuesday night I spent at my psychic circle again with good friends and acquaintences followed by a very late night watching Most Haunted on Living TV and after another meditation circle tonight, I am sitting down to write this with a cuppa at 10 pm ish, just about 'psyched' out.

I remember having an electronic conversation with Magnumlady, a blogger from near Sligo in Eire about friends or perhaps more accurately acquaintences and I certainly have lots more acquaintences than friends, that's how it is, but my goodness how important are both to one's mental well being. What would I do without the rich diversity of character, experiences and uniqueness that those around me provide to life in general? Kindness, generosity of spirit and humility are in abundance and I know they will get pay-back a thousand times for each selfless act, be it just a smile or something tangible that they give freely, it gives me a warm glow.

For some life isn't like that I know, and life isn't completely rosy for the vast majority of us in this modern, pressured, fast moving, reshaping world, but I suppose I count myself luckier than many and I gives thanks for it regularly.

My final chapters are for the diet tonight. I continue to lose weight, but this time, the monthly weigh-in only reveals a loss of 1.7KG or 3.74 pounds. On the positive side, it's a loss, on the negative side, it's not as much as I would have hoped, and that's because of a poorly knee I developed about six weeks ago. The exercise has been curtailed to a much lower level and it's clear to me that exercise is now the key albeit it's just walking and toning with gentle stretching and small weights. Today for the first day in those six weeks I have been pain free and of course what did I do? EXERCISE and I've had to take paracetamol because it's started to ache again, but I have to do it through the pain and fortunately it's just a fraction of what I've had to put up with just aches.

Now the time for the secret I said I would tell you. What did I start out weighing at the time I had the shock back at the end of February? 153Kg or 24 stones. I am now 111.8Kg or 17.6 stones. Still plenty to go. Shhhhh don't tell anyone, just between you and me.

A man says to the lady behind the counter in a loud drunken voice, "FISH, PATTIE AND CHIPS WITH A SMALL SAUSAGE AND CURRY SAUCE PLEASE!"

Shocked, the lady took off her glasses and with a stern look said, "Sir, this is a library."

"My God, I am so sorry," he replied straight away. "Fish, pattie and chips with a small sausage and curry sauce," he whispered.

Chat soon


Saturday, 17 October 2009

Madness on the Lawn

My other half is away for the weekend (well during the days anyway) so I thought I'd have a bit of fun while I was cutting the grass today and got my camera out as well as the lawn mower - I know how to party!

Here's the result:

Hope you enjoyed!

For the technical minded (I'm not) Canon 40D camera on a tripod 1 second exposures at 2 second intervals over a few minutes (as long as it took me to cut the grass) using a Canon TC-80N3 Timer Remote Control - then made up in Picasa and finally edited in Windows Movie Maker. Sky overcast facing north.

Chat soon


Friday, 16 October 2009

Geordies, Mackems, Smoggies & Cockneys

Listening to the radio on the way home I heard a presenter refer to his guest as a 'Geordie.' This tells me that the person concerned comes from the North East area of England around Tyneside, specifically Newcastle. But I asked myself what it meant and I had no idea, so, I looked it up. It either derives from the most common name at the time in that area, George or from miners who used lamps designed by George Stephenson. Geordie is first recorded in 1793. Disappointing really - not very exciting.

Those around the North East however wouldn't thank you for calling them a Geordie if they came from Sunderland, close by to Newcastle; you would rightly call them a 'Mackem.' This time, the shipyard workers are supposed to have said about their trade, 'we mak 'em and tak 'em ,' (make them and take them) - make the ships and take them to their neighbours, the Geordies to fit them out.

Even more curious is that other close neighbours from Middlesbrough would rather be called a 'Smoggie.' Although there seems no logical explanation for this name although I suspect it's from the heavy industry that used to be in that area - causing a 'smog,' even more interesting is the fact that if you come from Hartlepool again close by in the North East, you would probably be called a 'Monkey Hanger.'

According to Wikipedia, a French ship was shipwrecked off the coast of Hartlepool during the Napoleonic wars and the only survivor was a monkey dressed in a uniform. It was questioned on the beach and naturally enough it didn't answer their questions. As the local inhabitants were not at all cultured and had no idea what a Frenchman looked like, they decided to hang the creature as a spy. However, if someone says they are from Hartlepool, beware, a minority think the term Monkey Hanger is offensive so be prepared to duck!

My mother is a Cockney, someone from London who was born within the sound of Bow Bells (formerly Mary-le-Bow church, destroyed in the great fire of London in 1666). The term goes back to the fourteenth century and was, at the start, a derogatory phrase derived from a cocks egg (highly improbable as you know) and referred to male prostitutes or an effeminate town dweller. Another explanation was the name of a a spoilt child who you would 'cocker.'

Although I've covered Cockney rhyming slang (language used in a deliberate attempt to confuse non-locals to London) before, here are a few example I recall from my childhood listening to my grandfather:

'Up the apples and pears' - stairs;
'Tea leaf' - thief;
'Plates of meat' - feet;
'China plate' - mate ("me old China");
'Would you Adam and Eve it' - would you believe it;
'Trouble and Strife' - wife.

There is double rhyming slang, so a two word phrase like 'China Plate,' is simply said as 'China,' meaning mate.

'Ruby' is from 'Ruby Murray' meaning curry;
'Barney' is from 'Barney Rubble' meaning trouble;
'Boracic (pronounced Borassic)' is from 'Boracic Flint' - skint.

Anyway, the Duchess of Fife is calling me because her Skin and Blister has turned up, the Khyber Pass, so I'd best get the Jam Jar out, step on the Water Bottle and go and get a Ruby if I can find some Bees and Honey after the Billy Lids have been in me wallet.

Have a great weekend.

Chat soon


Thursday, 15 October 2009

Tale of the unexpected 4

Driving home from my psychic circle last night was not a pleasant journey on country roads and in heavy drizzle which made the darkness deep and unforgiving. Even the grass verges were colourless with pity for me. I was tired anyway after a long day during which I had already driven over two hundred miles on business for a meeting. My ability to concentrate was stretched to the limit as the white line became my only guide to safety - everything else was turned into a neutral grey soup.

I had been driving between Hornsea and Beverley in the East Riding of Yorkshire, normally an attractive green and gentle landscape when I came to awell known old fashioned mile marker stone set near the left hand hedge. Sat on it was an old man, hunched over, cap dripping his pale skin picked out in the halogen headlights. He raised a hand and struggled to stand. I braked hard even though I wasn't travelling fast, then reversed a few yards to where I has seen him.

He shuffled to the window and I wound it down. I asked if I could help, was he okay? His face was in shadow and he mumbled his response, and I managed to grasp the fact that he had broken down and would like a lift to the nearest garage to obtain some assistance. I looked at the clock and told him that it was past midnight and there were no garages open but that I could drop him off at home or at the local police station.
He moved to the back of the car, opened the door and with some effort struggled in. The pervading smell of dampness and a feeling of cold filled the warm cab and I imagined his wet clothing on the leather upholstery and cringed - the car's got less than 600 miles on the clock!

"Are you in the AA or the RAC?" I asked. He didn't look at me directly, in fact I couldn't see much of his face at all because his cap was worn over his eyes and his head was bowed, but I could make out a stubbly chin and a distinctive scar across his chin which slightly disfigured it. "No lad," came the reply. He was dripping wet. My poor car!

"I'll drop you off at the local nick, they should be able to help you out."
I enquired after his health and he said he felt as well as could be expected, just a little chest pain and the slow journey provided some time to ask him his circumstances although he was monotone and brief in his responses. Shock might be the explanation perhaps, he had come off the road in his car apparantly. He was a doctor and was on his way to see his daughter-in-law who had sent word that she was not well and she had received some bad news.

As we approached the orange mercury glow of the streets of Beverley, I heard him crying, quietly, but very distinctively. He said he was alright just cold and tired. He as
ked if he could give me anything for my kindness. I felt strangely emotional and chided him gently for the suggestion and turned down his offer. After a couple of minutes I drove into the police station yard turned off the ignition and turned to my passenger to see... he was not there. What the hell? Where had he gone? The cab light hadn't come on that I could remember nor had I heard the door.

I ran into the police station foyer and blurted to the officer that I had picked up the old man and he must have fallen out of the car without me realising it probably only just down the road. The officer immediately called to his unseen colleague behind the screen and they both came running out in their shirt sleeves, reassured me that they would find him and set off down the glistening wet road shouting into their radios. I started to shake and sat heavily on the seat.

After several minutes, the officers came back, breathing heavily and stated they could not see anyone on the road. I retold the story, more than once and then to the Sergeant and then the Inspector. I could tell they were becoming sceptical and we trudged out to the car, 'for a closer look' at the back seat where the old man had sat and cried with quiet dignity. I couldn't believe my eyes, the back seat was as dry as a bone, the carpet was equally as unsoiled and dry, in fact in pristine condition in the officers torchlight. A piece of paper was sticking out between the seats and the Sergeant took hold of it and we all looked at it in the light of his lamp. I have kept that piece of paper and I've copied it for you to look at below. I ha
ve no idea how it got there and I've never seen the like before.

The Inspector invited me to his office and offered me a cup of tea seeing my obvious distress and bewilderment. He was kindly if not verging on patronising me, but as I took the welcome cup from him, I stared at an old photograph on the wall. It was black and white and showed two men, one in uniform and one in a tweed suit smoking a pipe. I stood slowly and looking closely at the photograph, I could see the man in the tweed outfit had... a scar on his chin.

The inscription underneath it read: "Certificate of long service presented to Dr Kenneth Peppiatt, Police Surgeon by Senior Inspector Stannard, 15 October 1942."

I spilt the tea down my front; the man in the photograph, Doctor Peppiatt WAS the man in my car tonight! I started to shake all over again as I saw the date, 67 years ago this very night.

The Inspector took some minutes to calm me down and eventually explained that Doctor John, as he was affectionately known was killed this night all those years ago while he was on his way to his daughter-in-laws house where he was to receive news of his sons death aboard a bomber in a raid over Germany. He had suffered a heart attack and died at the wheel of his car which was found early morning next to the mile marker on the road to Hornsea. It was the Inspector's grandfather who was a police officer during the war years who had found him. I couldn't believe it. The Inspector said that I had not been the first to see him and I wouldn't be the last.

I bade the officer goodnight and thanked him profusely for his trouble and asked for his forgiveness for the embarrassment I had caused his staff.

Even as I sit here writing this, as someone who is well versed in the paranormal, I still find it difficult to comprehend; the physical appearance of the man, his voice, the smell of the dampness, dripping of water.

The note? This is what I found. You might want to look at the n
ame of the chief cashier on the bottom right - click on it to enlarge it.

Chat soon


Story the intellectual property of Rarelesserspotted

Seven seconds of bliss

I hope the world is treating you all well this mid week in October.

After some period of apparent inactivity, I came home to find Colin the Model - you remember him - the modest one, trying to improve his physique on the ProTrainer using the half kilo weight. I don't know if he is trying to say something about my pitiful endeavours, but if he doesn't want to end up in Woollies window without any clothes (if you get my drift), he best be tactful about it. I don't know how he even got in the garage, the door is really stiff.

Brother in law and I were planning to take some long exposure pictures of the bright lights of Hull Fair this week, but the weather is against us with low cloud and mist, and getting close or in the fair taking pictures is problematic so hopefully if the weather lifts we may get some nice pictures to display for you.

I went to the quacks this morning and when I left him to go to work, I had my headlights on - the time? nine-fifteen. It was grey and miserable. I noticed that when I put my headlights on, the sat nav went into night mode and I couldn't read it, even though it was daylight, albeit murky daylight.

Did I say my knee was playing up? It's been really painful for about six weeks after a session one night on the treadmill when I was very tired and not in the mood. I went to my good friend Linda's house last night to work on my meditations which have been less than fruitful or beneficial in recent weeks and by coincidence, Linda happens to be my
Shiatsu back therapist. I sat down, gingerly, and she asked me what was the matter with my knee. After the end of the meditation session, she sat me on the floor with my legs out straight and felt my knees (lucky me).

My right one, she said was fine, the left one (which was giving me some pain) had slipped out of position after I presumably twisted my knee even though I can't remember doing it.
Anyway after about seven seconds of manipulating it, it went back and other than some muscular tenderness around it, it's now pain free. Just shows eh? Six weeks of pain, seven seconds to remedy it. Losing weight undoubtedly helped to minimise the pain because there is less stress on it - ironic that it should cause the pain (through exercise) in the first place.


Anyway, I thought I'd bring you all some culture and I looked at the works of the mighty Confucius. He was a philosopher and thinker, as you would imagine and he was born as far back as 551 BC in China according to legend. His work influenced many far eastern countries such as Japan, Korea, China and Vietnam and it majored on governmental morality, social relationships, justice and sincerity. Thanks to Wikipedia for the info. Here are a few lines (best said in a fake Chinese accent):

Woman's charms like a spider's web - lead to flies undoing;

Man who drive like hell bound to get there;

Man who keep feet firmly on ground will have trouble putting pants on;

Man who live in glass house should change in basement;

Man who want pretty nurse should be patient;

Better to be pissed off than pissed on;

Man who leap off cliff jump to conclusion;

Man who put head in fruit drink get punch on nose;

Man who handles privates all day not necessarily sergeant;

...and finally to show Confucius not sexist:
Girl who sit on jockeys lap get hot tip.

Chat soon


Saturday, 10 October 2009

Chocolate or not - that is the question...

What a glorious morning. The sun is shining after a grey misty start following last night's much needed rain. Everywhere is damp with the smell of autumn in the air. The picture to the left is of the magnificent chestnut tree in the grounds of Stow Hall in Norfolk and it doesn't do it justice. Pictured last week on our visit, it was huge and certainly centuries old. I wonder what scenes it has witnessed over the years? Click the picture to enlarge it.

I finally got through to Citibank on Friday morning and spoke to a nervous young woman who finally activated my account so now I can actually deposit a couple of quid to kick it off. No more hanging about on the phone waiting for paint to dry.

An interesting fact on BBC News Online Magazine site today - always good for a leisurely read - about our consumption of chocolate. Apparently, as a nation, we consume £57 worth of chocolate each through the year which I found shocking at first until I thought about it. The Swiss however, those hardy mountain dwelling lederhosen wearing lot each spent £111 each per year on chocolate.
I suppose the cost of chocolate these days, a bar a week at a quid doesn't seem unreasonable. I remember a news item saying that if you eat chocolate with red wine it does you good.

Sounds okay to me except I am not a chocolate lover at all, it's never really appealed to me. I don't mind the dark plain chocolate. When I was a kid, my mother's treat was to have a small thin bar of Bourneville which if I recollect correctly was very expensive at the time. She also liked plain Bounty bars with the coconut inside . The ultimate was to have a plain Walnut Whip; bite the walnut off the top with the top half inch of chocolate then get your tongue inside and lick out the white marshmallowy stuff, mmmmmmmmmm. Disgustingly decadent.

A seed catalogue from Suttons has arrived this morning (the post arrived at 9.30 am - unheard of in recent years, it's never here before 11.30 am) and it's a veritable delight of colour, new plants, vegetables to die for and very nicely presented. I shall pore over that this weekend and try not to spend a fortune bearing in mind my idea is not to have flowers next year apart from the odd basket, rather concentrate on showy shrubs that the squirrels can neither eat or dig up.

Despite my knee which has been playing up these last few weeks, I am going to do some gentle walking (no hills today) on the treadmill, make some phone calls and catch up with friends and settle down to a leisurely Saturday afternoon and perhaps read a book.

I play golf rarely and badly, but as it's the weekend, a golf story is in order.

St Peter and God were playing golf. St Peter teed off on the first hole and played a beautiful drive 300 yards right down the centre of the fairway. Then it was God's turn. He hit a terrible shot off the tee, sliced over towards the trees and the rough. Amazingly, his ball bounced off a tree into the hands of a waiting squirrel who raced across the rough grass until it was picked up by a falcon in its talons who flew off with it until it was over the green and the squirrel dropped the ball directly into the hole for a hole in one.

St Peter turned to God and said, "Okay, are we gonna play golf or piss about?"

Chat soon


Thursday, 8 October 2009

Our Trip to Norfolk

Arrived home safely from our family history trip to Norfolk after travelling on country roads and in one piece to boot. The picture above shows the picturesque Holy Trinity church at Stow Bardolph, a village just north of Downham Market.

Wow, a hectic week firstly visiting the archives at the Norfolk County Council in Norwich then the villages where the ancestors lived in Norfolk from around the 1830s to the 1890 when they all dispersed to the four winds. Despite one day of light rain, Norwich is a lovely place, the atmosphere is friendly and the city itself attractive with fascinating architecture.

The archivists couldn't do enough to help us and we filled in some gaps to the family tree and discovered some things we need to do more research on to firmly link them in to the family. The best thing to report is that we were allowed access to a tithe map of 1840 showing the land that Francis farmed with his sons and brothers in Stow Bardolph Fen. (A tithe map is a huge canvas map (pictured below measuring 8' by 10' all hand drawn of course) which shows the parcels of land they farmed and how much they paid to the Church in tithe and how much they paid to the land owner - the Hare Family, in rent. )
We visited Wimbotsham - pronounced 'Wim - bow - shum' where one of the wealthier ancestors was buried. He owned a pub in the village called the White Heart Inn, no longer there.

We called in and spent some even more time at Stow Bardolph, a beautiful little hamlet where the ancestors were baptised, married and sent off on their way at their funerals.

Our final port of call was across the river from Stow Bardolph to Stow Bardolph Fen where the family lived and farmed reclaimed land. At a farmhouse there which was built in 1870 and replaced my ancestors farmhouse which fell down because it was built on peat, we met the current owners who kindly invited us in eager to hear the history of who had farmed the land before them - they were very helpful, delightful in fact.

A hugely successful and enjoyable break away - the car performed beautifully, the weather behaved, by and large, and we learned much about those long gone, but who contributed a small part of who I am today. My wife deserves thanks for being patient (she enjoyed the experience too!)

You have all been so busy - I have loads of blogs to catch up on while her indoors is catching up on the three hundred and seventeen programmes she recorded on Sky+.

By the way, I am still holding on, waiting for Citibank to answer the phone so I can activate my account... We are sorry to keep you waiting. Our team of personal bankers is eager to take your call and will be with you as soon as possible - arrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chat soon


Sunday, 4 October 2009

82 shopping days to Christmas

The end of the weekend is upon us once more - 'oh too quickly dost thou pass, thy haven of rest from life's drudgery.'

Weather's been okay and although there's been a bit of sun around, it's definitely chilly. I filled the council green waste bin with leaves today from the lawn and they collect it on Wednesday, just in time for the next lot to go in. Just to the west of us across the road are some huge beech trees and when the wind blows like it did on Saturday, guess where all the leaves go? You got it - my garden. I can just imagine what Victor Meldrew would do if he walked out one Saturday morning and saw someone else's leaves on his lawn: "I DON'T BELIEVE IT!" Its something I've got used to over the last thirteen years - get the blower out, pile them up, suck them in and shove them in the bin.

Having the bin does save me carting them off to the tip although by mid November, there'll be too many leaves for the bin and I will still have to take some bags to the tip. I used to compost them, but don't have the room any more since we landscaped.

We're busy packing (in fact her indoors has just finished) to go to Norwich on Monday night to spend three days doing my family history research. I've gone as far as I can using the Internet and relatives, I need to go and look at the County archives to dig a little deeper, get some social history of the family as farmers in the fens of Norfolk in the late eighteenth century through to the late nineteenth century. We'll be back sometime Thursday.

So I hope you all have a productive and safe week, think about getting that Christmas shopping in, the shops have got the cards and prezzie ideas already - only 82 shopping days to Christmas left! And it's time to put the Brussels Sprouts on and they'll just be about ready in time for Yuletide Didn't I read recently that the Post Office are saying that if you don't post for Christmas now, letters won't arrive in time? That has GOT to be a joke.

Why is Christmas just like a day at the office?
Because you do all the work and the fat guy in the suit gets all the credit.

Have a great week.

Chat soon


Friday, 2 October 2009

The good old days - waiting for two hours on the phone!

At the time of writing, I have been waiting two hours and one minute (which must be nearly a record) for a bank, in fact Citibank, to answer its telephone. I have opened an account on line in minutes some days ago, and they have sent me details of the account through the post, but before I can use the account, I have to call them on a number to activate it. In between high volume crackling classical music hurting the ears, the following patronising, monotone, meaningless announcements are made roughly every fifteen seconds:

"We are sorry to keep you waiting. Our team of personal bankers is eager to take your call and will be with you as soon as possible.

"We are currently experiencing a high demand for our savings products. You can apply for a savings account by visiting our website at alternatively, to speak to an advisor, please continue to hold."

I honestly believed these days had gone. Where is the professionalism? Even call centres abroad, whilst not ideal are better answered quickly than waiting for what seems like an eternity wasting your life on a Friday night.

As a new customer, this hardly inspires confidence. I can't even complain by using their 'contact us' on line service because I have to activate the account obtaining user names and passwords before I can log in!

Although I was determined to hold on and say my piece when the unsusecting customer services advisor answered, I finally got defeated! I put the phone down at 19.38 hours. Twenty to six I started!

NOT a good start to the weekend!

Today's story as you can imagine is topical.

A man walks into the bank, banged his fist on the counter and said to the female clerk behind the window, "I want to open a bloody account - NOW!"
"I beg your pardon?," replied the clerk, "What did you say?"
"Listen damn you, I want to open an bloody account NOW."
"I'm sorry sir, we don't tolerate this kind of behaviour and language here." With that she left the window and reported his behaviour to the manager.
The manager appeared and said, "What seems to be the trouble sir."
"I've won £14,000,000 on the lottery and I want to open an account in this God-forsaken damned bank NOW!"
"I see," the manager replied, "And this bitch is giving you a hard time?"

Chat soon


Thursday, 1 October 2009


White rabbit, white rabbit, white rabbit.

Welcome to the month of October, tenth month in the new(er) Gregorian calendar and it's name simply derives from the Latin Octo - eight, because it was the eighth month in the old Roman calendar.

There are so many celebrations in October, it's mind boggling; among them International day of Non-Violence (2nd); Thanksgiving in Canada (second Monday); Columbus Day in the USA (also second Monday); World Food Day (16th); the very twee Apple Day (21st) and of course the world famous Samhain, better known as All Hallows E'en (31st).

Among the worthy month-long observances are Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Th Anglo Saxons called October Winterfylleth, the coming of winter beginning with this month's full moon - fylleth.

Thanks to the informative Wikipedia.

Well I survived the rigours of the new exercise regime which last night consisted of a warm up, stretches and an hours walk at an increased speed. No need to crawl in to work. Tonight, just got back from a half hours swim with my other half at the very pleasant Beverley Leisure Centre which has been improved beyond all recognition in recent years, certainly since last I was there - a long time ago.

This bloke walked into a bar and ordered a double whiskey on the rocks,, a bourbon, and a triple vodka. "I shouldn't be drinking this lot with what I've got," said the customer.
"Why, what have you got?" replied the barman.
"Thirty five pence."

Chat soon