Monday, December 31, 2007

Nearly 2008

This Christmas will probably be remembered as the one where everyone was sick, and nobody really felt up to much. I remember telling a colleague just before I started the leave that I'd booked for over the Christmas/New Year period, that I fully expected to be ill. It's always the way it happens, you work hard for months with no break, and then the moment you lift your head up, it hits you - cold/flu, manflu whatever. Sometimes it's good to be right. This is not one of those times.

So what else will I remember 2007 for? Well the only other thing is work. I had a whole page here before I deleted it, about what I felt about work, but just in case (and I don't wanna get dooced until I have another job) I won't mention it - if you're really interested email me, but otherwise let's just say it's memorable for all the wrong reasons.

In summary then I hope 2008 will be better than 2007, I really do. Starting with my family getting well, and putting the Christmas cold / manflu season well and truly behind them.

I hope you all too (however many of you there are) also have a good 2008 and it is better than 2007 (even if 2007 was your bestest year ever, I hope 2008 will be even better for you). So until then....

Friday, December 28, 2007

Is It Wrong...

To enjoy a Brandy Cream laced coffee at 2 in the afternoon?


Not a fox in the garden helping itself to the bird food, but a rat!

Not really surprised given the abandoned railway, and number of large gardens around.

Trying to block up his entrance points didn't work - he dug around them, so it looks like we will be trying traps and chemical warfare.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Reindeer fueled and ready to fly. Presents wrapped and under the tree.
Ham and Turkey roasted and ready to carve. Merry Christmas

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Sunday, December 23, 2007


The moment I relax after working flat out for months, I get man-flu.
So much for having leave over Christmas.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Comic Revival

When I was a kid I was a Dandy reader.  I never read the Beano, always the non-conformist me!  I was introduced to it when I was home sick from school one day and my mum was going to the local shop and asked if there was anything I wanted.  She probably expected me to say Lucazade, but like I've said ever the non-conformist, so I said "A Comic!".  She brought me a copy of the Dandy, and so from then on, every week (I used to collect mine on a Saturday morning, with if I was lucky the change from twenty pence to spend on sweets).  I used to read Korky the Cat, Desperate Dan (I am a member of the Cow Pie Eaters Club) and all the other characters.  As time progressed Dandy merged with other comics and became the poorer for it (IMO).
I progressed to other comics, Eagle, Warlord , 2000AD and the mini (in size) Commando stories, also Peanuts (or Snoopy as I preferred to think of it) and Calvin & Hobbes, Tin Tin; and....
I hold my hand up, I still read them today.  I don't buy the comics per se, but I buy the collections of my favourite characters.  Strontium Dog, Snoopy, Tin Tin, Commando, and others as and when I can.  For me it's escapism, they don't require the concentration of a novel, but they are as detailed.  They can be subtle or blatant in message and IMO the artwork better than anything likely to win The Turner Prize. 
Most of the comics I had when I was a kid are now long gone.  There are some that I can remember to this day for one particular reason or another.  Interestingly those that stick in my mind where those that I read when I was home from school sick (I was quite a sickly child).  Perhaps because I read and re-read them, have nothing better to do than cough and splutter my way through yet another bronchitis infection.  Those memories could now however be enhanced by the Internet.  There are many comic book dealers who are able to supply me with copies of those that I remember the most.  The question is, should I, or might it harm a beautiful childhood memory? 

Friday, December 14, 2007

Something in the Garden is Feeding

We have a nocturnal visitor.  Every night for the past week something has been coming into the garden and dining on whatever the birds have left from during the day.  Said visitor doesn't seem to be bothered about what it eats, seemingly rather partial to both stale bread and dried mealworms.  We suspect that it is probably a fox although the jury is still out, but given that our garden is completely enclosed it seems unlikely that anything else would be able athletic enough to make it over the potting shed/garage roof.
So in order to try and catch our visitor "on film" we have come up with a cunning plan.  We are turning our web-cam around to record the comings and goings in the garden.  Now the resolution won't be great but we should at least be able to find out who our visitor is.  That's so long as whatever it is, is big enough to trigger the infra-red sensor on the garden light.  This will work if the animal is indeed a fox, as we know that our dog (approximately fox sized) already triggers the light when he goes out after dark.
The only flaw (I think) is that we might not have enough hard-disk space to record for long enough, given that we'll have to leave the camera running.  In theory if we make the picture as small as possible and turn down the number of frames per second that will help, however anyone with technical know-how your thoughts would be appreciated.
I plan to try tonight, as our visitor seems to be very consistent, and we'll see what happens - if it works will try and post the video here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

It's Wet Out,

and so windy that it was difficult to draw breath as I walked across the fields with the dog this morning. It's rained so much these last few days that I've begun not to bother trying to hard to dry my coat out between walks. I wear it damp instead, dry on the inside!

In between walks it's on with preparations for Christmas, getting the card list out, bringing it up to date, adding people who I now have an address for. Working out who we still have to buy presents for, and wrapping those we have already brought.

There seems like a 101 things to do before the day itself. As this is our first Christmas in the new home, we're entertaining on Christmas day. We invited 14 people at one stage. Thankfully 10 of them had plans so that means that there will be 4 humans and 1 dog here for Christmas dinner after which all 5 of us will probably join 70% of the population and go to sleep for the afternoon!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dog / Cat Diary

Excerpts from a Dog's Daily Diary

8:00 am - Dog food! My favourite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favourite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favourite thing!

10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favourite thing!

12:00 pm - Lunch! My favourite thing!

1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favourite thing!

3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favourite thing!

5:00 pm Had a bath . . . . bummer.

7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favourite thing!

8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favourite thing!

11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favourite thing!

Excerpts from a Cat's Daily Diary

Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am.


There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released -and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe. For now. . . . .

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Who Covered These Tracks?

For a Secret Santa, I've burnt a CD. Can you guess who covered these tracks (without resorting to the Internet! Or looking below.)

City of New Orleans

Rhinestone Cowboy

You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling

Forever in Bluejeans

Blue Bayou

California Girls

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

California Dreaming

These Boots Are Made For Walking

La Isla Bonita

Country Roads

Love Me Tender

New York, New York

Amazing Grace


Knight Rider Theme

That's Right:

It's The Hoff

Mr Shouty

UPDATE: I was asked to hang on to this post for a few days, so please ignore the time discrepancy.

The gig we went to on Sunday was excellent, one of the best we've been to for some time. Martyn Joseph was inspired. He played for well over two hours covering all of the new album and many of his back catalogue. The mix of vocals, acoustic guitar, wit and humour, along with some serious messages in subtext made for an amazing performance.

I will take away many things from the evening, in particular what sticks in my mind at the moment is the passion and dedication to his art. Once a signed artist by Sony (I think) and now with his own private label I can't help but think that Sony lost out big time, but as readers of this blog will know I have no love for Sony, so that works for me. Oh and the improvised session about Travelodge - just inspired.

There is a subtext to this post however. A while ago we took my parents to another gig for this group, where MJ was playing a support set. When we came away we obviously asked my parents what they thought. To paraphrase, my mum said she liked the main act but thought the support was a "bit shouty".

Now I know the lady who does PR for both groups and I happened to mention this her, and well I have a confession to make. It's gotten back to his crew and it's kinda stuck. Martyn I'm really sorry. In his honour, Martyn's crew have created.....Mr Shouty.

What do you think?

Martyn Joseph / Mr Shouty