Thursday, January 31, 2008

Anyone for Goose?

Remarkable new footage of Canada's Arctic wolves has been caught on camera by a BBC crew.

Borneo Orangutan Survival

Please sign the electronic petition (person information is optional).

There is no need for the palm oil used everyday in so many products we use/consume to not be orangutan friendly.

I hope you will join me in helping to save one of our closest living relatives!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Just Like The End Of Term

We're moving office at work this week. As a result we have no office
at all 'til Monday. Most people are working at home. To compensate we
had an extended meeting of our whole team followed by lunch together.
Afterwards as everyone was going their separate ways there were calls
of see you next week etc. Feels just Like being back at school and the
last day me term where you didn't see alot of people for six weeks and
said your goodbyes until the start of the new school year.

Sent from Google Mail for mobile |

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why I Won't Have An i-Phone

As regular readers will know I don't tend to follow the crowd, and don't have an i-pod, (instead I have a Walkman and that is less than a pleasure to own).  That said when it was announced that the i-phone was going to be launched in the UK I hoped that it would be on the network that I use, because I was interested.  Disappointingly it was on O2.  I guess O2 must have paid mega-bucks, because I was once a customer of theirs and I know just how poor their network availability is and how poor their customer service was when I was a customer.  If other people have the same experience it would take a very tempting offer to get them back! 
I won't therefore be buying an i-phone.  Unless of course they change or expand on network(s) availability.
Now I know I could get an i-phone and have it unlocked (hacked) but given that Apple have ways and means at their disposal to prevent you using an unlocked phone (and who can blame them), I can't be bothered.  I would want the full functionality and be able to update it as needed, but I won't use O2, it's a case of never again! Shame I can't help think that Apple have missed a trick, and at least one customer. 

Monday, January 28, 2008


Wil Wheaton wrote a post about being a geek. Now everything he includes, I can lay a claim to have done, and some that I still do (does that make me a geek too)? Here I would lay comics, science fiction and movie soundtracks. I lurve my soundtracks.

Soundtracks make a movie, where would Star Wars or Indiana Jones be without the music of John Williams? Or The Godfather without Nino Rota and Henry Mancini? For a while you also used to get the complete soundtrack as an extra when you bought the film on DVD - not sure whatever happened to that though?

To me they are memories of a particular movie or just cracking good tunes. I've discovered new bands from hearing a track on a soundtrack. I play them in the car, on my Walkman on the PC (if we had a working stereo I'd play them there too)! I do go through phases though. I will listen to the same soundtrack for days or even weeks or have the same one in the car on repeat for many, many journeys and then I won't listen to one at all for ages.

I'm going through a "listening to" phase at the moment. My Walkman is on "shuffle-play all" for "Genre: Soundtracks". Star Wars IV, V, VI and II & III are there, (EP I has rights management so tight it won't play), I also have The Transporter, Crank and War (notice an actor link here)? Bond movie themes and soundtracks from Japanese Story and Antarctica (never seen the films but love the soundtracks), there are more there yet to play so I don't know what's coming up. How long this phase will last is anyone's guess, it could be a day or two or weeks.

If this means I am a geek, then so be it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Big Garden Birdwatch

This weekend is the Big Garden Birdwatch.  The idea is for an hour you watch the birds in your garden and record all that you see.  Not counting those that are merely flying past.
In my hour I saw:
Collared Dove x 2
Wood Pigeon x 2
For the hour that I was counting all the birds that I often see deserted the garden.  I did see flying past:
Black Headed Gull
Herring Gull
but as I've said they don't count.  Shame.  I can't help thinking Ratty might have put the frighteners on a few birds, but as he is now in the great rat cage in the sky, perhaps they will come back.  Oh well there is always next year :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Do I Really Need All These Things?

It's that time of the year when subscription renewals fall due. My flickr account has lapsed from a "Pro" to a standard account. (It always felt a bit odd having that "Pro" tag because my photo's are nowhere near what I would regard as professional). It's not expensive, but I kinda think so what? Do I need it at all? I've given Facebook the heave-ho (or at least "deactivated" my account, because you can't delete it. Wish I'd known that when I signed up), and I can't say I've noticed any difference. There hasn't been a stream of emails from people saying they miss me.

Flickr is different however, because I do enjoy photography. I don't take anywhere near as many pictures as I feel I should or would like to, it doesn't however increase the number of photo's I take and the level of feedback I get is minimal so there is little interaction there with anyone else. So do I really need it? Well I don't know. For the time being I'm going to leave it as it is. (My GF is still off sick from work, and has reached the point where her sick pay runs out so every penny saved is a good thing). I'll see whether I miss being a "PRO".

There are many other places where I wonder if my "presence" would be missed. I'm a member of a couple of on-line book discussion groups. One for mystery books, and another for travel books. I post occasionally, but mostly I "lurk", so I'm not sure whether or not to keep them going. There are only so many emails that you can read after all. The same with bookcrossing, I started out with the best of intentions, but I haven't released a book in months, partly because of some the fellow bookcrossers I met at a local meet who were, shall we say a little clique all to themselves and didn't really appreciate a stranger affecting their group dynamic.

Then of course there's blogging. Here I stay for now. I don't post nearly as much as I would like to but I do enjoy it. I doubt if I gave up all of the things above I would have anymore time online to blog. I don't think time is really the issue here, it's more a case of am I wasting other peoples time. So for now things stay as they are, no subscriptions renewed for online stuff, at least for the time being at least, we'll see whether I miss any of it or not.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Windy, Wet and a Day Off

My timing was never very good :(

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More Risks Than Shark Infested Custard

Given that nearly a year ago we moved house, it is also nearly time to renew our house insurance.  Sure enough a reminder arrived from our broker with a quote for the upcoming twelve months.  Looking it through it seemed a reasonable price, but since there are so many adverts at the moment offering a third off or free contents insurance if you have buildings cover I thought I would shop around.
I found several quotes that were close to the one offered by our broker, slightly higher (a few pounds) but offering a greater level of cover.  Given that we would rather be slightly over insured that under insured, I phoned our agent to give them an opportunity to match the quotes. 
They seemed reluctant to do anything.  I explained that our particular concern was with our buildings cover, and wasn't prepared to proceed without at least increasing that.  I also asked for an up-to-date policy booklet so that I could see exactly what we were buying.  I'm not sure whether or not I will see that.
I'll wait and see what they send out, if anything, but I won't be holding my breath!

Monday, January 14, 2008

More Hiatuses Than a String Vest

Every year since I've been a blogger, I've made a New Years resolution to myself that I would write more posts.  Sometimes I've shared it with those people who read my blog, more often I haven't because I always seem to let the side down.  No change there then I see!  Much the same as each we I promise to take my "Thursday Walk" photo for Utata and never do!
The main reason this year is because most of the posts I could write, would be about work, and as you know I don't write about work.  That said I know some reader (s) who would be interested in those posts, but would also email me and act as my blog "conscience" about not blogging and from time to time I really need that prompt.
Anyway, what else has been going on?  Well my GF is still off work sick, and the doctors (plural because she has yet to see the same one twice) all seem reluctant to do anything except write a sick-note that says "flu-like virus".  For f**** sake get a life - if someone has been unwell for over 8 weeks surely there is a bit more that you can do?  Having said that we are waiting for the results from a blood test which they finally agreed to do, but it took almost camping out in the surgery to get them to do anything.
In other news I see that Creme Eggs are on sale again (and I think have been since Boxing Day)!  I note the change in slogan, gone is the "How Do You Eat Yours?", in is "Here Today Goo Tomorrow".  I also note the special offer, but in line with other New Years resolutions, I'm not biting!
"Ratty" as he has begun to be called, (I think it might be bad news to name a pest that we are trying to eliminate after a character from " Wind in the Willows") is proving not only to be elusive, but also a bit of a comedian having dumped a whole load of soil from his burrow, onto  the trap.
Booked a holiday, going here, sometime soon.
 For those who purchased Christmas present from Amazon.  This might be of interest to you.
Think that's all for now!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2007 - The Year of the Move

Last year on the 28th February, we moved house. As readers of the old blog will know, it was a pretty near run thing that almost didn't happen. Our first home "failed" it's survey and we had a mad rush to find something else before our buyers pulled out.

Looking back on the move, we had a number of things that we were looking for. Some of them had some leeway in, others very little. I was thinking about this, this afternoon, and reflecting on how closely we had stuck to our criteria.

Off-Road Parking

We had this as an absolute no compromise, and have our own little secluded garage (known as the bat-cave).

Close to a railway station

Again another no compromise for us. My GF doesn't drive and I wanted to drive less, and walk and use public transport more. We are now 10 minutes from the railway station and about the same from town, so we pretty much walk everywhere. I read more, I listen to more music as a result. All round success here.


We had to compromise here. We have a pavement to the front and compared to our old home, which was at the end of a cul-de-sac, we have quite a lot of passing traffic. However we are above the road, so the majority that we see are pedestrians.

Garden of our own

Another success. Our old place had a communal garden, and although the grass was cut by someone else, there was little that we could do. Now we have out own, and could do what we like.


Many people move because they need more space or want to downsize. For us it was the former. We had out-grown our old home. We now have more space, but I suspect that given time we will come to fill that too.

Dog walking area

We had lots of walks for our dog where we used to live. We still do, although they are different walks, but one of them still has a pub within easy distance :)

Overall I'd say the move went well and mostly we have what we wanted. There are a few things that we'd like to change, and are changing, but on the whole we like our new home.

Four Days of Freedom

Have to go back to work on Monday.  As usual have a list as long as my arm of things I wanted to get done whilst off over Christmas.  Some have been completed, but alas I have failed miserably on most of them.  Just wondering how many I can pack in over the next four days?


Will, bless his cotton socks, sent me this to show to my GF. Thanks Mate! I can honestly say I have never had man-flu this bad!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Voyageur - Robert Twigger


I was given this book as a Christmas present, it's one that I had previously added to my Amazon wishlist, using my "photo-reminder" system (standing in a bookshop with no money and seeing a book that I want to read, photograph with cameraphone to remember for later. It works the photo in this post is the one I took at the time).

I've been reading it since the Thursday after Christmas (yes I know I read slowly)! So far I am about a third of the way through. I say a third because the book covers Twigger's three attempts to follow in the paddle splashes of Alexander MacKenzie, across America in a birchbark canoe, and I've only just finished the first attempt.

I'm enjoying the book and I think I would recommend it to anyone who like me, likes travel and adventure books. I thought it might be simialr to Bill Brysons, "Walk in the Woods", and indeed to a point it is but perhaps Bryson writes more for laughs than does Twigger. Still I like Voyageur enough to buy another one of Twigger's books "Being a Man"
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