Friday, 26 February 2010

Potty collector looses marbles

It's official, I'm collecting cardboard toilet paper rolls, and as if you needed to be reminded what they look like, I have taken a photograph of the said pristine items as proof. If anyone knows what they call collectors of such items (apart from potty - excuse the pun,) please let me know.

In truth, I'm collecting them to put some sweet pea seeds in I got for free in the BBC Gardeners World magazine this month. I'm going to hang on before I sow them because it's sleeting outside and its zero degrees. In fact there's been some local flooding, nothing too serious thank goodness, but lots of lying water on verges, in fields and on roadsides and with heavy and persistent rain due on Sunday, it doesn't look good. Fingers and toes crossed.

Well the weekend is upon us and for the last many weekends, apart from very domestic stuff mainly around the house I've not done a great deal, but for a change I've got a decent weekend of activity planned. On Saturday, I'm off into the town for a whistle and flute (suit) because the four suits I have in the wardrobe now look like clown's outfits because I've lost weight. The suits will go to a man who is poorly off and goes to my wife's congregation. This will be followed by the weekly shop, lunch and then I have to carry some rockery stones from the front of the house round to the back of the house.

A trip to the tip with some cardboard will round off this exciting day's enterprise (I know how to push the boat out.) Sunday morning is a jolly to the East Yorkshire market town of Beverley to a Mind, Body and Soul fair with three ladies from my meditation class for a look around. It's the first one I've been two but the ladies are old hands and have even had some stalls themselves in the past. The rest of Sunday after lunch? Well it might be time to relax and as it's supposed to be pouring down, a snuggle in front of the fire with good TV or a book sounds sort of inviting.

The BBC has an excellent news item today about unfortunate names people are given at birth. Apparently, these are some names of real people registered in the UK today:

Stan Still, Justin Case, Barb Dwyer, Terry Bull, Paige Turner, Mary Christmas and Anna Sasin.

According to the BBC, Stan Still, a 76 year old retired airman from Cirencester in Gloucestershire, UK is quoted as saying the name had "...been a bloomin millstone around my neck my entire life." Talking about his time in the RAF, he told the BBC, "When I was in the RAF my commanding officer used to shout, 'Stan Still, get a move on' and roll about laughing," he said. "It got hugely boring after a while."

Poor Stan. I do think parents should be counselled by someone, like the registrar and told in no uncertain terms what they are doing to their poor kids.

Today's story has a name theme to it.

Three couples died in different parts of the world on the same day and they duly presented themselves to the pearly gates. St Peter was waiting with his clip board for new arrivals and the first couple announced themselves and told St Peter of the great and good things they had done in life. The man said his wife's name was Penny.
"I'm sorry, I can't admit anyone who has a name linked to money. Really sorry."
The second couple told St Peter what a sincere, honest and hard working life they had led. The man introduced his wife, Brandy.
St Peter shook his head, "I'm afraid I can't let anyone in who has a name linked to alcohol. I'm very sorry."
The third couple were listening to all this and the man turned to his wife and said, "Fanny, I think we have a real problem."

Have a great weekend.

Chat soon,


Thursday, 25 February 2010

Man with seven toes gets award...

First of all, I would like to thank Jarmara for nominating me for this award. I couldn't have done it without my team around me: I would like to thank my director, stunt double, my mother and the butcher's wife (scrub that last one).

The rules of getting this award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you.
4. Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself and at least one outrageous truth.
5. Nominate 7 creative writers who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

As with all awards I have to name names to who I would love to pass this award onto:

To Magnumlady: a top blogger who takes magical photographs and is the world's busiest mother and wife.
To Auntiegwen: who has a dilemma about her book club and I've given her a solution - oh and she writes the funniest blog to brighten the day.
To Middle Aged Gapper: just a great bloke who sets out his plans for life and then does it!
To Barry Chessman: a good friend and with his partner lovely Shirley Ann, helps lots of people with problems.
To Diane: Busy lady, highly talented who has already had this award from someone else - but she deserves a second bite of the cherry (and she's just had her fifth blogaversary).
To Josie: A creative lady in the heart of Yorkshire bringing joy to her customers and those who read her blog.
To Wheelie: who deals with life's tribulations with a smile.

These are the seven things I have to write about myself (see the criteria above):

I was John Prescott's dietitian;
I have Hutchinson's Galloping Sex Rot disease;
I have seven toes on my left foot;
I once wore the same pair of underpants for three and a half months;
I am rich, witty, handsome and intelligent;
I track down ghosts in haunted locations;
My fifth wife doesn't understand me.

Hmmmm no, number two isn't the truth one either!

By the way, I had a text on my mobile this morning from a friend:

"Hello, hope ur ok. I'm having a test drive in a Toyota. Gotta go - can't stop!"

Chat soon


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

200 today (and he doesn't look a day over 138)

Blimey it's cold today. I left work half an hour early today and it was not as much of a treat as you would imagine because it was for a trip to... wait for it... the dentist.

For my two hundredth blog, I am writing about my trip to the dentist. To be fair, my dentist is excellent: friendly, considerate, doesn't laugh too much while he's drilling and he's not expensive. The nursing staff are superb and have suction skills to turn your head. I'm fascinated to know what this coded language means, dentist to nurse: "One, two three present, five, six, seven... eight missing." OMG what's missing? He doesn't seem concerned.

I didn't need treatment today (wahaaaayyyyyyyy) and after a good poke around, I went to see the hygienist.

Now she is also very professional (lost weight like me - except she's training for a marathon!) and I enjoy getting a bollocking every six months; here's the script...

Her: "Have you been flossing?"
Me with mouth full of whirring metal cleaning implement spurting water and a suction pipe, "hmrmphhhpher."
Her: "Well you need to get that flosser in there because they need doing at the back as well you know."
Me: "Hmmmfruuhphmmmmrhhh."
Her: "Good"

Three pints of valuable, hard earned blood loss later, being tickled by the polisher behind my front teeth and spitting out that disgusting pink liquid and nearly hitting my head on the ceiling lamp on the way out, I leave refreshed and unable to resist running my tongue round my teeth actually feeling quite good. What's more, I am keen to make my next appointment for further torture and bollocking for six months time. Weird.

Have you noticed, I'm not talking about the weather today? I'm not mentioning the fact that northern Britain and Northern Ireland are going to experience more snow, sleet, hail and freezing rain this week. I said I wouldn't and I'm not. In fact, I'm ignoring it so it's not going to happen.

My psychic circle tutor is not well tonight so it's a night in front of the fire keeping warm, I hope she gets well soon.

And finally,

Patient: "I have yellow teeth, what shall I do?"
Dentist: "Wear a brown tie."

Chat soon and floss often!


Sunday, 21 February 2010

Welcome to Planet Earth

Repeat after me: "I will not turn this blog into a weather forecast."

Welcome today to a new follower, Jarmara Falconer. This 'plum-coloured hair woman' describes herself as follows:

"I'm a nightwriter and I'm haunted by the power of the written word. If like me, you are on a journey to another time and place, then come with me. I shall enjoy your company for the journey is too long to be alone."

Her blog's great and very entertaining and for someone who has a few thousand words of his first novel hiding on the hard drive somewhere, it will be good to follow her progress in writing and publishing hers. You are very welcome madam.

I woke this morning to an inch of snow on the ground and flakes the size of flying saucers falling gently to earth. Now, not that I've ever seen a flying saucer you understand, but any alien with any self respect would always choose sunnier climes to make 'first contact.'

Imagine the scene, snowy Yorkshire, 9 am Sunday morning:

"Hello, I'm Zush from the planet Toofarawaytosee,"

"Now then lad, it's a bit parky out here what wi' snow an all, does tha' fancy a cuppa?"

"Erm... I come bearing gifts and extraordinary science from a far galaxy."

"Aye, 'appen, but it's brass monkey weather and I need to get me tootsies in front of yon fire."

"I've travelled for 379,000 light years through intergalactic wars and corrosive nebulae, negotiated with species too fantastic to describe to bring you messages of hope for the future of mankind."

"Well you'll be ready for for some grub then lad, park the old UFO over there, don't block her drive across the road though, she gets a bit tetchy, don't worry about the dog, she only bites those she doesn't like. You look a bit blue, are yer cold or is that yer normal colour? Don't slip on the snow, I can't afford for you to sue me, ha ha! Bugger me, it's cold."

I was going to do some gardening today but it's a morning in front of the fire doing a bit of reading. It's the local DIY store this afternoon, weather permitting to get some John Innes compost for the outside tubs to replace the general purpose stuff that neither retains moisture or goodness.

Enjoy the last day of the weekend!

Chat soon


Saturday, 20 February 2010

Ode to a simple berk...

What a fabulous morning, bright sun, crystal clear skies and frost on the lawn where the sun hasn't managed to get to yet - gorgeous. Lift the temperature by twenty degrees and it would be worth having. All makes it feel so much better.

I had a coffee with brother and sister in law next door this morning and sister in law has lost six pounds on her diet so she's doing really well. We had a look at their fish pond this morning and the water was only about three or four degrees, so my mind was made up not to do any spring maintenance on my little puddle to avoid stressing the fish. Brrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I don't know if your blog has it, but at the top there's a little link which says 'Next Blog'. I often click that and have a mosey round the world of blogging and there's some fascinating stuff I must confess: personal lives, family lives, hobbies, politics, photography and much, much more. Last night I came across a great site which had poems on it and unfortunately after I read it I moved onto the next one and didn't make a note of the link.

It was a poetry blog by an individual who writes about his personal life in the modern way of doing poetry, unlike poems when I was a kid which all rhymed. Interesting story within the poems but I'm sort of uneasy - concentrating so much on reading it properly to make it sound like a poem that I forget what the content is all about.

So I wrote a little ditty of my own last night as a commentary on the 'modern' way of writing a poem.

Just a simple Berk

I love to read a poem
To muse on prose and rhyme;
To feel the lines trip off the tongue
The feeling is sublime.

But looking on the Internet
At modern verse and line,
Just really makes me wonder
Why poems no longer rhyme.

There is a secret, I suppose
Which I’m not privy to,
Of how to make the lines flow right
Without a harsh review.

I like to giggle, have a laugh,
See clever word play work;
Tis a skill I do not have -
I’m just a simple berk.

To write a poem, I’ve no clue
To follow modern ways,
When ere I read the modern stuff,
My eyes go all a glaze.

I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead
Rhyming dictionary overused.
My final words on modern rhyme?
I’ll just remain ‘bemused’.

Copyright Rarelesserspotted, first published on on 20 February 2010. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Chat soon


Friday, 19 February 2010

It's a Mystery...

I hope you've all had a productive and good week at home and if you work - there too. I am really looking forward to the weekend as I do all weekends with a view of getting into the garden and continuing what I managed to start last week at last - pruning and tidying. Well I was.

I was on the treadmill last night and half way into the routine, I felt a tremendous stabbing pain in my knee which immediately stopped me in my tracks. Fortunately, there's a sturdy handrail so I was able to lift my feet off the conveyor belt and onto the side boards until I could switch it off. I continued to walk but at a slower pace and on the flat for the last twenty minutes, but I realise now, after consulting doctor Internet, that I may have damaged my cruciate ligaments.

My own doctor is on holiday but I can ring up on Monday for an appointment for later next week, so it's ice packs and rest; it is really painful when I walk.

I broke my last abs machine which I bought to help me get rid of the handles that surround the middle bit of my pudgy body and I need to take that back on Saturday morning to Argos because it's still in guarantee. A replacement arrived on the back of a van today, so I can use that to keep the exercise going - if I stop exercise, it could spell disaster for the old diet.

Ah well, the best laid plans of mice and men!

Depressingly, I notice on the Met Office website that there's an early warning of snow next week causing disruption and I can see by the news that parts of the UK have been suffering from snow this week, the Midlands and parts of Scotland particularly. I love snow and winter, but it seems to have been a long one this year and for a change, I'm looking forward to an early spring and more daylight and more sun! PLEEEEEASE!

It's ages since I did a list, so I thought we'd have a look at life's imponderable mysteries; answers on a postcard please...

How do you tell when you've run out of invisible ink?
Whose cruel idea was it to put an 's' in the word 'lisp?'
If people from Poland are called 'Poles,' why aren't people from Holland called 'Holes?'
How come you never hear about gruntled employees?
Can atheists get insurance for an 'act of God?'
Why does your nose run and your feet smell?
Why don't you ever see a toad on a toadstool?
If the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second, what is the speed of dark?
Does that screwdriver really belong to Phillip?
How do 'Do not walk on the grass' signs get there?

Chat soon


Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Places to go, people to see!

Just a quick blog tonight - fairly exhausted after two really busy loooooong days! I hope everyone is absolutely tickerty-boo?

Tuesday I was up at 5.30 am (in the middle of the night for me) to go on the treadmill before work because I missed the night before and then a heavy day at work. After work I was at my psychic circle arriving home at 11.40 pm and sleeping soundly.

Today (Wednesday) started at the normal time, work, board meeting for three hours straight after work with only a sarnie for
sustenance, straight to meditation class where I had an incredibly exciting experience and then home at 10 pm.

My son has had a letter for a job interview so I'm incredibly pleased, so we need to help him as much as possible with interview technique.

What I am disappointed at is I've missed pancake Tuesday! And what makes it worse, although my other half makes really good pancakes, she bought a bottle of pancake mixture from the supermarket just to make it easier and less mess. Ah well, we'll have to indulge this weekend.

The picture above shows the very unusual sunrise I witnessed on Monday morning (15th February) just before work. The sun was shining with a red hot glow on the trees against a grey threatening cloudy background and shortly after that - it rained all day. It looked more spectacular than the camera has captured, but it was really something.

A man rang the local newspaper and asked about putting an obituary in the paper. He was told that it would cost him £26.75 including VAT. He admitted that he only had one pound and taking pity on him, the call handler told him that for a pound, he could give him three words, so he should choose carefully.

"'Margaret is dead' is all I can think of really," said the man.
"Hmmm, it's a bit short and blunt," said the call handler, "I'll tell you what, don't tell anyone, but I'll give you another extra three words for nothing."
The man paused for thought and after some deliberation he said, "Margaret is dead, Fiesta for sale!"

Hope you are having a good week.

Chat soon


Sunday, 14 February 2010

She loves me, she loves me not...

I hope you had a great Valentine's Day. I had a lazy lie in which is really unusual but I rolled out of bed around 10.30 this morning having slept really well - as my mother says, "You must have needed it."

I don't celebrate Valentine's Day, I can't remember ever getting a card in my entire life although in my teen youth I can remember sending a couple f speculative cards out and being devastated they weren't returned in kind. It's not something that means anything to me at all but people get enjoyment out of it and that's great. My colleague at work just has a girly day in with her partner with wine, chocolates and girly films - sounds fun.

Instead my day was spent in the garden dodging the showers starting my tidy up with the leaves that roll in from everyone elses trees. Then there was the dead Montana Clematis tendrils that needed thinning out and the pyracantha that I cut back so it doesn't rip my arms to pieces as I pass it when I'm cutting the grass. I picked up loads of twigs from the grass which is looking really tatty and my council 'green' bin is now full. The snowdrops are almost out with the white flowers clearly in view waiting for longer daylight hours to help them dazzle in the dark grey days.

The small pond I have out the back of the house has a leak somewhere, so a few days ago I switched the pumps off which had kept it ice free during the winter. The pond level didn't drop at all during these few days. I switched it back on today and found the leak - a connection to the filter which was merrily dripping away, so with icy blue painful fingers, that was mended and the levels have stayed up - so here's keeping my (cold) fingers crossed.

Mum and dad have been round for tea and the family are watching the animation film 'Up' on DVD. I can't say it's my thing so I am writing this while tea settles and then I'm going for a walk on the treadmill.

Back to this romantic day. There were lots of Saint Valentines and the one who gives his name to this special day is not known at all save for the fact that he's buried north of Rome on the 14th February. He was however a Christian Martyr and the day was given up for celebration by Pope Gelasius in 496 AD. It became a celebration of love in Geoffrey Chaucer's time with the first reference to the day being special for lovers around 1382.

Valentine's Day has been banned in some countries like Saudi Arabi; India and Pakistan actively discourage it because of its Christian significance.

The British Retail Consortium reckons that Valentine's Day is worth about £1.3Bn to the UK economy which is a staggering sum of dosh.

Today's story sort of hits the button on the theme of love.

A very shy guy goes into a pub on Valentine's Day night and sees a beautiful woman at the bar. After a long struggle with his shyness, he finally managed to walk over to her and asked her politely, "Um, would you mind if I give you some company?"

She made a furious face and yelled at the top of her lungs, "How dare you asked me to sleep with you tonight?"

Everyone in the pub started staring at the man who was completely embarrassed. After a few minutes, woman walked over to him and apologised.
"You see I am a student of psychology and studying how people respond to embarrassing situations. I am sorry but I was just doing my experiment!"

The young man suddenly gave a loud yell, "What do you mean £200?"

Have a great week.

Chat soon

thanks to here for the joke and the picture

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Who cares about crime?

Other half is in bed as I ramble this morning, she's on nights so I've done some tidying round, emptying bins, quietly hoovering, took some cardboard and bottles to the tip and after lunch I'm going to get into the garden and just have a first tidy round to get rid of the effects of winter.

I noticed that there is much sadness reported in the media this morning with deaths all over the place: the assistant professor (female) at the University of Alabama (USA) who allegedly killed three colleagues and wounded others because she had been passed over for promotion. There's the dreadful case of the man alleged to have attempted to murder his children by driving into a river in Worcestershire (UK) with them in the car. One of the children as I write is still 'poorly' and in a critical condition - I pray they get well and the family can come to terms with this forever life changing act. There are other cases, too many to mention individually.

And yet, despite these high profile, well reported crimes which attract public interest for the unusual nature of the crimes committed, crime is falling and has been in general for some time. You might not think so if you have been a victim (yes I have too!) because it has a dramatic effect even though it may be minor. Yet the fear of crime is another matter and that is a real problem. What makes a 'no-go' area for example? Fear of crime or actual crime?

What effect does reporting of crime have on our attitude? A local paper today (Hull Daily Mail) has a headline story on the Internet of two convicted yobs who assaulted a number of people in a very short space of time, one seriously and through a fractured skull has lost the hearing in one ear. Another woman was beaten about the head, her property stolen and sexually assaulted. The guilty pair have yet to be sentenced and the comments from the public who are allowed to print their views on the Internet article are baying for blood and are sceptical about whether or not the judiciary have the bottle, courage, call it what you will, to sentence these nutters appropriately. Most think they'll get a slap on the wrist and yet they have changed peoples lives forever through their lust for violence.

We read this story as the headline and form an opinion about the place where we live. I've never witnessed this behaviour as I walk around or go about my business throughout the whole of the area, be it a place with a bad reputation or a good one. I don't go out into the city centre on a night because I'm too old and I know there is violence when idiots get too much booze inside them, but by and large, we live in one of the safest countries in the world. So why are we so frightened by thinking we may become a victim of crime no matter what it is.

People have written books on the subject and I am not an academic so I have no real answers other than what the 'man in the street' sees as potential solutions. But we live in changed times from those in which our parents grew up. Standards and opportunities are so much greater now than they have ever been, but the lazy criminal fraternity see no need to take advantage of this and there is no incentive in law for them to get a grip on their lives. I feel sorry for their children who, in some cases are born losers because they will have little if any encouragement towards good citizenship. Forgive me for saying that, but I believe it to be true.

We should all care by the way, care about the way we conduct ourselves, take care that our families get the best chance in life, care about where we live and how we live. Only through our influence and our attitudes will things change. The shame is that it might not change quickly enough.

I now need feeding as hunger has overtaken my need to have a rant. I feel soup is on the way!

And finally, I read the other day a local druggie had injected himself with curry. He's now in hospital in a korma.

Chat soon


Thursday, 11 February 2010

It's all about the specs

I hope I find you in great spirit. Driving to work and driving home today with the sun out makes sooooo much difference although it is still bloomin' cold. There's a hint of spring about. Indeed, next door has had some Leylandii 'trees' which formed their front garden hedge drastically cut back today which brings so much more light to the Rise and gives me the encouragement to get into the garden this weekend if the current good forecast holds - (they may decide to change it because it doesn't show enough doom and gloom.)

I bought a new camcorder yesterday to replace the one I've had a few years and had gone to meet its director in the sky or wherever deceased camcorders go. I was outside Makro at 7 am when the store opened because it's the start of their special offers and I expected crowds and hoards of bargain hunters. There was just me. I was the only berk to brave the early morning snow. I was given the wrong camcorder which was on special offer and didn't realise until I got to work - the model I wanted was the Gz-MS120AEK. I was given the GZ-MS120BEK which is in an identical box and is the same price.

Now what's a letter between friends, but the camera I wanted was the better specification and was normally £50 dearer than the special offer price. They changed it without a problem and I tried my stumbling best to engage in conversation with the assistant who was perhaps under some pressure on the refunds counter. I said, among other things that the camcorder I actually wanted, the AEK was a better spec even though it was the same price as the BEK. She smiled knowingly and muttered something like "blokes and higher specifications - it's all about the specs." Hmmmm, I wish I'd asked her what experience brought that remark to the surface.

"Plus there's a £30 cash back by the maker which made the camcorder really good value" - this went over her head. My conversational small talk skills needs work.

Now even though it was sunny today on the way home, I always have my lights on 'Auto' mode so it detects what the weather is and light conditions and it comes on or goes off accordingly so far this has worked faultlessly although ask me HOW it works and I have no idea. However, today, facing beautiful late afternoon dazzling winter's sun, the lights came on without prompting. The woman in the new Ford Focus in front of me was looking in her rear view mirror clearly thinking I had flashed her. I could see the frown in her eyes - if looks could kill.

That's when higher specs can come and bite you in the ass!

Brother in law next door has been on a course and has sent me this little gem, author unknown about the famous spell checking facilities on word processing applications - the 'Bill Gates effect.' By sheer co-incidence, I was talking with a colleague today about her daughter's spelling which is apparently poor and her school, when challenged were not at all concerned and stated that it didn't really matter that much.

Ode to my spellchecker

Eye have a spelling checker, it came with my pea sea
It plainly marks four my revue miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a quay and type a word and weight for it to say
Weather eye yam wrong oar write, it shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid it nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it I’m shore your pleased to no
It’s letter perfect awl the way, my checker told me sew.

Chat soon


Sunday, 7 February 2010

One year old today

My blog is one year old today. Magnumlady, a regular correspondent celebrated her blog’s first anniversary one year ago last week.

I was inspired to write a blog by reading a book, Petite Anglaise by Catherine Anderson and you can read her blog here. I don’t regret it for a second. My Facebook account has gone because I felt I was obliged to write on it and keep it updated and my life was frittering away through using it too many hours a day. This blog is about life in general and I say what I want when I want with no obligations other than write what I feel when I feel like it. I don't know how Twitter works and I don't think it's something that I want to take on.

The traditional first wedding anniversary present is paper and the modern one is a clock. It’s not exactly a wedding is it? But I’ve bought myself a couple of paperback books as a treat (and it also goes with my New Year’s resolutions to read more fiction.)

My first ever blog was about waste recycling (I know how to excite and inspire) and I’ve written about a diversity of subject matter, mainly trivial, often predictable; offering humour where I can and advice where I felt I could through my own experiences. I’ve written some ghost story blogs which is fun for me to write and some obituaries, like yesterday’s blog.

I have also been inspired by fellow bloggers who read this regularly and what a crazy, brilliant bunch they are. I put some photographs on here, one or two have been decent and one time-lapse film

I hope this is the first anniversary of a longer life of blogging, something that doesn’t appear to have waned in people’s interest – blogging seems to be going from strength to strength – the power of the ordinary Joe (and Josephine) to express themselves.

In essence this blog is me. It's who I am, it's how I think and what I do.

It's another anniversary today, my mother and father's fifty second. We are off to lunch and take some prezzies, just chocolates, they refuse anything else, they don't want us spending our money on them! We are however taking them away for a weekend to visit my son at Liverpool University and taking the opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of that great city.

Today’s story sticks with the theme of anniversaries.

A couple were celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary, but it was clear the husband had something on his mind. He took his wife aside and said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t help noticing that out of our eight children, Michael looks different from all the rest. I know it’s a terrible thing to ask, but does he have a different father?”
The wife couldn’t look him in the eye and she said, “Yes, it’s true, I confess, he does have a different father from the rest.”
“Who is it? Who is Michael’s father?” He asked
She looked at him sorrowfully and said, “You.”

Hope you enjoy what’s left of the weekend.

Chat soon


Saturday, 6 February 2010

Ian Carmichael, who died today

I was very sorry to hear today of the death of one of my favourite actors, Hull born Ian Carmichael. By co-incidence, after my early morning exercise, I watched the black and white film, Colditz Story this morning on 'Dave' on Sky, unaware that he had passed away.

I suppose I grew up with Carmichael because he played Lord Peter Wimsey on TV for years, he was Bertie Wooster and played leading and supporting roles in the famous Boulting Brothers films like 'I'm alright Jack' and 'Lucky Jim.' He starred with the best in the business.

Plus, he was a local lad (89 when he passed). Carmichaels store, down George Street in Hull was a posh upper class store selling the top stuff, furniture, jewelry and household stuff. It's now a pub I think on the night time circuit. His family owned the store but instead of following in the family trade, he became a luvvie. His superbly quintessential upper class accent belied the fact that he was from the fishing city of Hull, a past he never denied or forgot..

A keen cricketer, he was one of the Lord's Taverners who raise money for charity, but a Yorkshireman at heart, he moved back to North Yorkshire to life out his life and, in fact, where he died.

Thanks to the BBC for the picture, above and read Ian's obituary on the BBC Online here.

Chat soon


Thursday, 4 February 2010

Believe everything you read in the papers!

I had a ridiculously early start to the day today - well for me anyway. I tend not to be much of a morning person and although I do my best work in the morning, sometimes I have to work harder at the thinking bit.

I drove into the centre of Hull in thick dense fog.

I was asked to review the papers this morning on BBC Radio Humberside for the brilliant breakfast show presenter, the very professional Andy Comfort. I've done it a few times now but it never gets any easier. I arrived at the studio around 7 am which is about quarter of an hour later than I like for me and that gave me twenty minutes to go through the papers and pick five stories to mention and give a personal view or comment upon.

I try to pick things I'm interested in or know a little about and perhaps have an opinion about. It helps I suppose that I like keeping abreast of the news, more from a national perspective than a local one these days - I tend to be a bit jaundiced about the quality of some of the local news output. In any case, politically, I have to keep a weather eye out for what's happening which might affect my work.

This morning I picked:
  • Energy (mentioned in yesterday's blog) and the need to secure it for the future;
  • The national debt of £1,485 billion debt (equates to £56,000 per household);
  • Cuts in public spending after the next election;
  • The recall of faulty Toyota cars (180,000 in the UK and 5 million worldwide);
  • The castle built by Mr Fidler in Surrey without planning permission.
I try to pick a fun story and the last one I mentioned was the castle - I find it hilarious, but I guess Mr Fidler is less than impressed. It all seemed to go okay, Andy is a great conversationalist who puts everyone at ease and I was well looked after by Clare the producer and stand-in helper, the versatile Steve Redgrave with a cuppa and a water before I went on air to ease the sore throat.

I had finished by 7.45 am and just avoiding the need to buy a parking ticket, drove off to work.

Instead of doing my usual exercise tonight, my other half suggested we go for a walk. Off we set and arrived home 45 minutes later. We debated how far we'd walked and we couldn't make our minds up so we got in the car and measured it! How sad is that? We walked 2.5 miles. Despite the grey damp winter night, it was a pleasant walk none-the-less.

Today's story has a journalistic theme.

A local sports reporter was covering a local Sunday League derby match and noticed that one of the teams was fielding an incredibly wizened looking old man. The reporter thought that he might be in the presence of the oldest player in the country, so keen to find out something about the old man to help make the lead story in Monday's paper, he asked, "Tell me, do you have a special diet?"
"Oh yes," the man replied, "Every day I drink eight pints of strong lager and a bottle of Scotch, I smoke about 40 cigarettes a day and all I eat is chips."
"That's incredible," said the reporter, "How old are you?"
"Twenty eight."

Chat soon


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Turn that light out!

Who remembers the three day working week arrangements in 1974?

I ask that because of the predictions by OFGEM (the UK power authority - the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) that we will need to conserve and secure energy supplies.

Well unless you were around in the early to mid seventies, you won't remember the then Conservative government of Ted Heath declared a three day working week to conserve fuel stocks which were running short caused by the work to rule of the National Union of Mineworkers.

This meant that shops and factories and businesses could only have three days of continual power and in effect making a lot of people temporary part timers as electricity supply was cut off from time to time on a rota. I can remember the lights going off at home for periods too.

I started work in 1973 and by the early months of 1974, the three day week was in full swing. Whilst I was lucky in that the department store I was working in (selling shoes) kept us on full time, but an emergency generator kept a temporary string of light bulbs lit high on the ceiling during the many power cuts. Lifts and escalators were out of action while the generators were on and if customers couldn't use the stairs, they never got to use the upper floors to do their shopping.

The light was dim but strangely rather made the place cosy. Shops were not allowed to illuminate their signs or window displays after closing time I think.

Without wishing to be controversial, there could be some more effort into exploring cutting the amount of street light illumination on endless miles of straight trunk roads where there are no pedestrians, stop the lighting of massive private open sites that are closed on a night time, providing grants for solar power to heat our hot water tanks, government funding for wave/water power in our massive rivers and off shore, exploring safer nuclear power, removing some council veto powers against for wind power sites and the exciting news about laser power reported on the BBC news online site a few days ago might be a real asset in the not too distant future.

Large parts of Africa, Middle East, Australia and other suitable sites should host massive solar power sites which would harness the sun's energy and provide most of the worlds fuel needs. Perhaps less money spent on wars, defence, space exploration and other useless projects could divert much needed cash to support this kind of work. Once we have that kind of fuel supply, then start on the luxuries again.

I know people wont like the nuclear power angle and I'm not chuffed about it either, but with all the NIMBYs stopping the world progressing alternative power sources, we may have no alternative.

I went out at 7 pm tonight for my meditation session and guess what - it was snowing! Fortunately, when I came home at 9.30 pm it had started to turn to drizzle and the snow has all but gone.

Chat soon


Monday, 1 February 2010

Leaplings step forward...

White rabbit, white rabbit white rabbit.

Welcome to February, another new month - I noticed this morning a beautiful large moon setting as I set off to work this morning against a clear but lighter sky, sure signs that nights are getting dark later and mornings are almost at the stage where I don't have to put my headlights on.

The history behind February is slightly more obscure than other months, (by the way, do you pronounce the 'ru' in the middle or do you say Feb-u-ry - like Jan-u-ry?) The second month in the Gregorian and Julian calendars is named after the Latin februum which means 'purification' from an old ritual carried out on the 15th February in the old Roman calendars because February was said to be a barren month.

There are some interesting anniversaries and celebrations this month including Groundhog Day in Canada and the USA tomorrow, the 2nd; Valentine's Day of course (never had a card in 30 years!) on the 14th and every four years, 'leap day' (this year isn't one).

The Primrose is one of this months birth-flowers and the birth-stone is amethyst.

There were some famous birthdays on the 29th February (known as 'leaplings') as well as the fictional Pirate King from Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance where the whole plot revolves around birthdays on the 29th. Others include Jimmy Dorsey, the American band leader, Dinah Shore, singer and actress, English actor Joss Ackland (one of my favourites) and many others.

My wife bought a Makro special offer chiminea last week for £49 which is a lot cheaper than the local outlets. My son and I put it together tonight with one of the worst set of instructions I have ever had the misfortune to read and sister in law from next door, my wife and I and my son sat around it watching the blazing scrap wood in the freezing cold this evening, but it was a pleasant experience. We like to sit out on an evening (usually when it's warmer) round a fire and have a bottle or two - tonight, it was just a cuppa, but wrapped up against the bitter and penetrating cold, it was equally as cosy.

A cowboy strode out of the saloon to find that someone had painted his horse completely green.
He stormed back into the saloon and screamed, "Which one of you sons of bitches has painted my horse green?"
A huge, mean looking guy, six feet four and built like a brick sh... outhouse slowly stood up and said, "I did."
"Right," said the cowboy, "Well, just to let you know the first coat's dry."

Chat soon