Thursday, 30 April 2009

Thursday 30 April

Took Monty for a long walk over the fields, I must start walking him over to the canal towpath and then up to Kings Lock Cottage tea rooms, now they've opened again for the summer. It's a beautiful cottage and the couple (Tony and Julie) who run it are absolutely lovely people. I'd hate to see their business fail for lack of custom. They've had a tough time with the weather these past 2 years, so I really should throw a little money their way.

(In picture taken by Andrew Denny of Granny Buttons fame, Tony unhooks the tearoom sign for the last time in 2006 and didn't reopen again until Good Friday 2007)
I think they've extended the gardens at the back so it'll be interesting to see how much bigger they've managed to make that area.

Got home and updated this document, then settled down to work out why the videos hadn't uploaded to YouTube. Sussed it and uploaded the larger videos. I'll have to sort through them and try to post them into this blog in the correct order, but that's a job for another day.

Swine Flu - the panic grows and shrinks - time to stock up on provisions just in case we're told to stay in doors or we get to ill to shop. I can't see a trip to ASDA in either circumstances being a very good idea. The news appears to be saying that the virus isn't as deadly as was first though but I'm afraid this might lull people into a false sense of security. It's still flu, which is a bastard, and it's one that none of us will have any immunity to, so even if it doesn't kill thousands it can still bring the country to a grinding halt.

Can't recall anything of any great purpose happening during the rest of the day.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Wednesday 29 April - Babylon 5 / Space: Above and Beyond

Done very little today. Seemed to spend most of the day trying to upload rugby videos (Hinkley Festival) to sundry photo sites and subsequently to this blog. Ah the penny drops! you can't load videos over 100 Meg. Now how to get round this problem. Ok uploaded the sub 100 Meg boys no problem. Plus 100 Meg, that's what YouTube's for.

Christ, YouTube can be slow, I've never done this before, eventually located their bulk up loader and just let it run in the back round. I'm still having a problem with the video of the final match (the one we won) but I'll crack it eventually.

That's about it for Tuesday, other than the fact that Han lost her dressing at 9:00 PM and she and Deb had to head off to A&E, luckily it wasn't a Friday or Saturday night so they weren't too long. Nat and I watched about 5 episodes of Babylon 5 that evening, I'd almost forgotten just how good a TV programme it was.

I'm currently downloading the only series of Space: Above and Beyond which was also made in the 1990's and which I remember as being very good, very much like Starship Troopers but without the Gore. I've a feeling Nat's gonna like it too.

Space: Above and Beyond (abbreviated as S:AAB) was a science fiction television show, it ran only for the single 1995–1996 season. Set in the years 2063–2064, the show focuses on the "Wildcards", members of the United States Marine Corps Space Aviator Cavalry, 58th Squadron. Based on the space carrier USS Saratoga, they act as infantry and pilots of SA-43 Endo/Exo-Atmospheric Attack Jet ("Hammerhead") fighters.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Store Good One Liners

It was a bit like putting lipstick and a nice hat on the Elephant Man.

It sounds cheap, but looks the canine's cojones.

Tuesday 28 April - Not Alot

Went to bed about 11:30 and didn't wake up until 18:45. Deb picked up the kids and they went to the cinema to see Coraline which Han says was very scary.

I can't recall anything of note for the rest of the evening aside from Nat demonstrating a working cold fusion battery he's built using toilet rolls and sticky backed plastic... big deal (Flash Basta*d) Yawn!

Han told on him anyway, apparently the extraterrestrial insectoid they've been in communication with for the last six months showed him what to do, so not so clever now then are you Big Head! When you perfect the chav disruptor beam, imparts a sense of social responsibility whilst removing bling and re-enabling the speech centres of the brain, come back and see me, until then talk to the bug cos the dad ain't listening.

48 Laws of Power

Law 1 - Never Outshine the Master

Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power.

Law 2 - Never put too Much Trust in Friends, Learn how to use Enemies

Be wary of friends-they will betray you more quickly, for they are easily aroused to envy. They also become spoiled and tyrannical. But hire a former enemy and he will be more loyal than a friend, because he has more to prove. In fact, you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.

Law 3 - Conceal your Intentions

Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelope them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.

Law 4 - Always Say Less than Necessary

When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.

Law 5 - So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard it with your Life

Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once you slip, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides. Make your reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen. Meanwhile, learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations. Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them.

Law 6 - Court Attention at all Cost

Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious, than the bland and timid masses.

Law 7 - Get others to do the Work for you, but Always Take the Credit

Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed. In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered. Never do yourself what others can do for you.

Law 8 - Make other People come to you – use Bait if Necessary

When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control. It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process. Lure him with fabulous gains – then attack. You hold the cards.

Law 9 - Win through your Actions, Never through Argument

Any momentary triumph you think gained through argument is really a Pyrrhic victory: The resentment and ill will you stir up is stronger and lasts longer than any momentary change of opinion. It is much more powerful to get others to agree with you through your actions, without saying a word. Demonstrate, do not explicate.

Law 10 - Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky

You can die from someone else’s misery – emotional states are as infectious as disease. You may feel you are helping the drowning man but you are only precipitating your own disaster. The unfortunate sometimes draw misfortune on themselves; they will also draw it on you. Associate with the happy and fortunate instead.

Law 11 - Learn to Keep People Dependent on You

To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted. The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have. Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear. Never teach them enough so that they can do without you.

Law 12 - Use Selective Honesty and Generosity to Disarm your Victim

One sincere and honest move will cover over dozens of dishonest ones. Open-hearted gestures of honesty and generosity bring down the guard of even the most suspicious people. Once your selective honesty opens a hole in their armor, you can deceive and manipulate them at will. A timely gift – a Trojan horse – will serve the same purpose.

Law 13 - When Asking for Help, Appeal to People’s Self-Interest, Never to their Mercy or Gratitude

If you need to turn to an ally for help, do not bother to remind him of your past assistance and good deeds. He will find a way to ignore you. Instead, uncover something in your request, or in your alliance with him, that will benefit him, and emphasize it out of all proportion. He will respond enthusiastically when he sees something to be gained for himself.

Law 14

Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy

Knowing about your rival is critical. Use spies to gather valuable information that will keep you a step ahead. Better still: Play the spy yourself. In polite social encounters, learn to probe. Ask indirect questions to get people to reveal their weaknesses and intentions. There is no occasion that is not an opportunity for artful spying.

Law 15

Crush your Enemy Totally

All great leaders since Moses have known that a feared enemy must be crushed completely. (Sometimes they have learned this the hard way.) If one ember is left alight, no matter how dimly it smolders, a fire will eventually break out. More is lost through stopping halfway than through total annihilation: The enemy will recover, and will seek revenge. Crush him, not only in body but in spirit.

Law 16

Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor

Too much circulation makes the price go down: The more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear. If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired. You must learn when to leave. Create value through scarcity.

Law 17

Keep Others in Suspended Terror: Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability

Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions. Your predictability gives them a sense of control. Turn the tables: Be deliberately unpredictable. Behavior that seems to have no consistency or purpose will keep them off-balance, and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves. Taken to an extreme, this strategy can intimidate and terrorize.

Law 18

Do Not Build Fortresses to Protect Yourself – Isolation is Dangerous

The world is dangerous and enemies are everywhere – everyone has to protect themselves. A fortress seems the safest. But isolation exposes you to more dangers than it protects you from – it cuts you off from valuable information, it makes you conspicuous and an easy target. Better to circulate among people find allies, mingle. You are shielded from your enemies by the crowd.

Law 19

Know Who You’re Dealing with – Do Not Offend the Wrong Person

There are many different kinds of people in the world, and you can never assume that everyone will react to your strategies in the same way. Deceive or outmaneuver some people and they will spend the rest of their lives seeking revenge. They are wolves in lambs’ clothing. Choose your victims and opponents carefully, then – never offend or deceive the wrong person.

Law 20

Do Not Commit to Anyone

It is the fool who always rushes to take sides. Do not commit to any side or cause but yourself. By maintaining your independence, you become the master of others – playing people against one another, making them pursue you.

Law 21

Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker – Seem Dumber than your Mark

No one likes feeling stupider than the next persons. The trick, is to make your victims feel smart – and not just smart, but smarter than you are. Once convinced of this, they will never suspect that you may have ulterior motives.

Law 22

Use the Surrender Tactic: Transform Weakness into Power

When you are weaker, never fight for honor’s sake; choose surrender instead. Surrender gives you time to recover, time to torment and irritate your conqueror, time to wait for his power to wane. Do not give him the satisfaction of fighting and defeating you – surrender first. By turning the other check you infuriate and unsettle him. Make surrender a tool of power.

Law 23

Concentrate Your Forces

Conserve your forces and energies by keeping them concentrated at their strongest point. You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by flitting from one shallow mine to another – intensity defeats extensity every time. When looking for sources of power to elevate you, find the one key patron, the fat cow who will give you milk for a long time to come.

Law 24

Play the Perfect Courtier

The perfect courtier thrives in a world where everything revolves around power and political dexterity. He has mastered the art of indirection; he flatters, yields to superiors, and asserts power over others in the mot oblique and graceful manner. Learn and apply theLaws of courtiership and there will be no limit to how far you can rise in the court.

Law 25

Re-Create Yourself

Do not accept the roles that society foists on you. Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience. Be the master of your own image rather than letting others define if for you. Incorporate dramatic devices into your public gestures and actions – your power will be enhanced and your character will seem larger than life.

Law 26

Keep Your Hands Clean

You must seem a paragon of civility and efficiency: Your hands are never soiled by mistakes and nasty deeds. Maintain such a spotless appearance by using others as scapegoats and cat’s-paws to disguise your involvement.

Law 27

Play on People’s Need to Believe to Create a Cultlike Following

People have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Become the focal point of such desire by offering them a cause, a new faith to follow. Keep your words vague but full of promise; emphasize enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking. Give your new disciples rituals to perform, ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf. In the absence of organized religion and grand causes, your new belief system will bring you untold power.

Law 28

Enter Action with Boldness

If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it. Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution. Timidity is dangerous: Better to enter with boldness. Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity. Everyone admires the bold; no one honors the timid.

Law 29

Plan All the Way to the End

The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others. By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.

Law 30

Make your Accomplishments Seem Effortless

Your actions must seem natural and executed with ease. All the toil and practice that go into them, and also all the clever tricks, must be concealed. When you act, act effortlessly, as if you could do much more. Avoid the temptation of revealing how hard you work – it only raises questions. Teach no one your tricks or they will be used against you.

Law 31

Control the Options: Get Others to Play with the Cards you Deal

The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice: Your victims feel they are in control, but are actually your puppets. Give people options that come out in your favor whichever one they choose. Force them to make choices between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve your purpose. Put them on the horns of a dilemma: They are gored wherever they turn.

Law 32

Play to People’s Fantasies

The truth is often avoided because it is ugly and unpleasant. Never appeal to truth and reality unless you are prepared for the anger that comes for disenchantment. Life is so harsh and distressing that people who can manufacture romance or conjure up fantasy are like oases in the desert: Everyone flocks to them. There is great power in tapping into the fantasies of the masses.

Law 33

Discover Each Man’s Thumbscrew

Everyone has a weakness, a gap in the castle wall. That weakness is usual y an insecurity, an uncontrollable emotion or need; it can also be a small secret pleasure. Either way, once found, it is a thumbscrew you can turn to your advantage.

Law 34

Be Royal in your Own Fashion: Act like a King to be treated like one

The way you carry yourself will often determine how you are treated; In the long run, appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you. For a king respects himself and inspires the same sentiment in others. By acting regally and confident of your powers, you make yourself seem destined to wear a crown.

Law 35

Master the Art of Timing

Never seem to be in a hurry – hurrying betrays a lack of control over yourself, and over time. Always seem patient, as if you know that everything will come to you eventually. Become a detective of the right moment; sniff out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry you to power. Learn to stand back when the time is not yet ripe, and to strike fiercely when it has reached fruition.

Law 36

Disdain Things you cannot have: Ignoring them is the best Revenge

By acknowledging a petty problem you give it existence and credibility. The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him; and a small mistake is often made worse and more visible when you try to fix it. It is sometimes best to leave things alone. If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it. The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.

Law 37

Create Compelling Spectacles

Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power – everyone responds to them. Stage spectacles for those around you, then full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence. Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.

Law 38

Think as you like but Behave like others

If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them. They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior. It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.

Law 39

Stir up Waters to Catch Fish

Anger and emotion are strategically counterproductive. You must always stay calm and objective. But if you can make your enemies angry while staying calm yourself, you gain a decided advantage. Put your enemies off-balance: Find the chink in their vanity through which you can rattle them and you hold the strings.

Law 40

Despise the Free Lunch

What is offered for free is dangerous – it usually involves either a trick or a hidden obligation. What has worth is worth paying for. By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt, and deceit. It is also often wise to pay the full price – there is no cutting corners with excellence. Be lavish with your money and keep it circulating, for generosity is a sign and a magnet for power.

Law 41

Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes

What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after. If you succeed a great man or have a famous parent, you will have to accomplish double their achievements to outshine them. Do not get lost in their shadow, or stuck in a past not of your own making: Establish your own name and identity by changing course. Slay the overbearing father, disparage his legacy, and gain power by shining in your own way.

Law 42

Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter

Trouble can often be traced to a single strong individual – the stirrer, the arrogant underling, the poisoned of goodwill. If you allow such people room to operate, others will succumb to their influence. Do not wait for the troubles they cause to multiply, do not try to negotiate with them – they are irredeemable. Neutralize their influence by isolating or banishing them. Strike at the source of the trouble and the sheep will scatter.

Law 43

Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others

Coercion creates a reaction that will eventually work against you. You must seduce others into wanting to move in your direction. A person you have seduced becomes your loyal pawn. And the way to seduce others is to operate on their individual psychologies and weaknesses. Soften up the resistant by working on their emotions, playing on what they hold dear and what they fear. Ignore the hearts and minds of others and they will grow to hate you.

Law 44

Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect

The mirror reflects reality, but it is also the perfect tool for deception: When you mirror your enemies, doing exactly as they do, they cannot figure out your strategy. The Mirror Effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact. By holding up a mirror to their psyches, you seduce them with the illusion that you share their values; by holding up a mirror to their actions, you teach them a lesson. Few can resist the power of Mirror Effect.

Law 45

Preach the Need for Change, but Never Reform too much at Once

Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit. Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt. If you are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of respecting the old way of doing things. If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.

Law 46

Never appear too Perfect

Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable. Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity.

Law 47

Do not go Past the Mark you Aimed for; In Victory, Learn when to Stop

The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril. In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat. Do not allow success to go to your head. There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning. Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop.

Law 48

Assume Formlessness

By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack. Instead of taking a form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move. Accept the fact that nothing is certain and noLaw is fixed. The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order. Everything changes.

Retrieved from ""

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Monday 27 April - Deb's 50th Birthday

I’ve not exactly been warned off but my comments today will be circumspect indeed.

Happy Birthday Deb, you share this momentous year with:

So, look on the bright side, unlike them you’re not made of plastic!

Deb, who enjoys birthdays almost as much as I do, opened a few of her presents before going to work. She opened the love links from the three of us. Han got her ball, Nat got her a sterling silver penguin and I got her their initials in sterling silver. She had a card from Donna that said 50 (she'll pay for that!!!) and a digital photo frame, some smellies and a replacement Nintendo DS game. From her Mum and Dad £50 in cash to spend on me, I presume, I mean, after all it's a wife's first duty and her greatest joy to see to her husband's pleasure? So make mine a pint (of absinthe) please.

I think things were getting a little out of hand when Deb expected the kids to make their own breakfasts and for me to make hers. I decided to humour her, after all I could go back to beating her for her disobedience,

as normal, tomorrow,remember, spare the rod and you spoil the bride. She decided to leave her other pressies until she came home from work.

Off to bed about 11:00, got up early so Deb could do the pressie thing, tea (which once again I cooked - this is getting beyond a joke, what next, a day off work JUST BECAUSE SHE'S SIXTY?) and to work. Last night, quite quiet, it's 04:23 now and I'm off to have my dinner.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Sunday 26 April - Rugby Tournament Hinkley

Sunday 26 April - Rugby Tournament Hinckley

Up really early this AM as we're off to Hinkley Rugby Club for the end of season festival.
We have to be there for 9AM so we need to leave no later than 8:20. Everything went OK and off we went. I asked Deb if she wanted me to use my Nokia N95 to get a route but she said that it wasn't necessary because she'd written down clear and concise directions. 08:45 lost, got a location fix and input Hinckley RFC as our destination; 10 minutes later and we're there (I'm getting a feeling of de ju vu here - I seem to remember we got lost going to Rugby Rugby Club using similarly clear and concise directions).
I'm somewhat ashamed to say that we avoided paying the £2 per adult entry charge when we followed some people through a break in the hedgerow which provided a short cut to the ground; honest Guv we didn't know! We trudged along, with muggings carrying the heavy cool box, with all the food in, until we spotted a lad in a Vipers shirt and a Dad we recognised. I don’t know the gentleman’s name as we met for the first time last Wednesday and neglected to exchange cards. I’ll have to remember to ask him next time we meet. He initially thought we were going to be playing in the area around the main field until he realise his program map showed two fields and we were scheduled to play on the old abandoned ones. They were easily recognisable; they were the rugby pitches with football goal post and nets at either end of the pitches

So; we trudged some more, muggings still carrying the cooler, until we finally reached rugby Siberia. Viper’s people were all on the far side of the field and when we reached them I realised we would be looking into the Sun for most of the day: I’m apologising here, in advance, for the bad lighting of many of the photos below.

It was rather a nice atmosphere, everyone grouped together chatting to one another and shouting at their kids.

The boy’s first match wasn’t until 11:00 (why did we have to be here for 9:00!!!!!!!!????????????) and this was against Oakham who trounced them 5-0. However, saying that, it should be noted that they scored their first try after the ball had been called offside by the ref who then proceeded to give the score, this can be somewhat disheartening experience. That said and done it must be admitted that some of the Oakham boys were like greased lightening and a couple of these guys were pretty big lads, for their ages; once they were away with the ball there was little chance of stopping them. Anyway, our guys always seem to start off badly, its as if they can’t get their swerve on and into their groove until they’ve had their faces rubbed in the proverbial a few times first.

Next up was a practice friendly with Market Harborough until the next proper game against Syston at 1:00.

Syston won this one too but by Christ were their parent supports an unpleasant shower of Chavs. One would have thought that one was attending a football match to hear this unwashed rabble cheer their numberless progeny along. The air was quite blue with their unnecessary expletives and many of the more refined amongst us were greatly shocked. To summarise, they were indeed a loud mouthed bunch of twats who need, and deserve, a good kicking.

The afternoon wore on; Hannah proceeded to intimidate any older boys she encountered, (especial Joshua, Jacob’s older brother, who was quietly trying to get on with playing one or more of his numerous handheld games – he’s not the sporty sort and prefers not to get involved in these kinds of activities unless they involve killing trolls and other naughty monsters) and insisted on playing with all and sundry in the woods behind the grounds – so much for being laid low with a broken thumb.

The next match was a play off against Syston B’s and ended in a draw.

It was decided by the referee that the teams would have to play each other again and this would be their last match of the day. The winners would win the vase (?).

Before this, I took Han to the loos again and we had a wander around the main grounds and took some photos. Deb sent a text to say that the last match would take place on pitch C, could we sink any lower, and that everyone was moving there. Han and I hurried back before we found ourselves abandoned and alone.

We Kicked arse, we finally got into our groove and got our swerve on

(I having got a flipping clue what that actually means). Put another way, We Won.

We made our way back to the car and drove home for about 5:00. I went to bed for a couple of hours. Up for 7:00, beans on toast and off to work. Quietish night got this blog (apart from this and the next entry) up to date.

7:30 - Off Home.

Saturday 25 April - Good Start but Totally Screwed Evening

We were all up early (ish) about 11.30 in my case today we're going to do lots on the allotment because I've got the night off tonight in anticipation of the rugby tournament tomorrow.

We managed to get a fair bit of work done, we dug over, covered and planted the strawberry patch, tied off the sweet peas and peas, did a lot of weeding and I dug over another patch of ground. As usual I took photos so that we could track our progress throughout the year. It occurred to me that it would be nice to get photos of all the plots on our row. I'm hoping, if George wants me to, to photography every plot and then allow people to access them on line to tag and detail them so photographing our row seemed like a good start. In addition I thought I'd see if I could create a panoramic photo be overlapping them and then using software to stitch them together (I did manage to do something of the sort but I'll need to get better overlaps next time). Han and I worked our way down the row (see photos below)and on the way we met a few of fellow allotmenteers. There was Mary(?), who has a plot about 7 plots down from us and at the plot at the far end (George has the plot at the other end) belonged to Phil (who had his kids with him who Han immediately played with). Wayne, who has the plot next to us, was there when we arrived and while Han and I were filming Deb met mark who has the allotment behind ours. He was kind enough to offer us one of his water butts if we wanted one. Blow are the photos I took on the day. That was the good part of the day over!

The proverbial excrement was about to make contact with the air agitation mechanism. As usual Nat and Han had spent much of the day bickering, hitting each other and telling on each other and I was reaching the limits of my patience. Deb had brought home some latex gloves that Han could wear to protect her thumb. However she kept messing with these and it was obvious that sooner or later they would be broken and ruined. Nat was constantly making remarks at her expense and tempers were getting fraught. Because we weren't going out for a meal to celebrate Deb's birthday she had told them that we would be having Domino's Pizza takeaway that evening as a special treat. At home things did not improve and finally I lost it big time with Han when she refused to stop playing with the gloves.

This proved to be the straw that broke Debs back, she went to bed, pizza was cancelled and we all went without. No doubt this will eventually all be my fault so, no change there! The kids won't learn and next weekend will be the same. They came down later to apologise but as I said, I didn't want their apologies I wanted their behavior to change.

Went to ASDA and bought some beer, for the first time since August I very nearly bought a packet of cigarettes.
Everyone upstairs other than me, watched TV and messed about on PC untill about 3am.
To Bed

Friday 24 April - Doreen's Birthday

Got up early today, had meant to sleep in because we're going over to Redditch this PM so see Deb's Mum, its her birthday today, and then I've go to work tonight. Unfortunately I couldn't stay asleep as my left leg had start to hurt quite badly and when his happens there's nothing to do but get up and use it. If you stay in bed it just gets worse. I think I was up for about 9:00 and at 9:30 I injected my 60 Mins of JK chavrality. Feeling refreshed I did bugger all for the rest of the morning. Decided to wait until about 2pm before taking Monty out for a walk hoping this would mean he would sleep most of the time we were away.

Deb and kids home about 3:30 off we went. Got to Redditch about 4:30. We were expecting to stay only a short while but Dorren and Alf had prepared food and other things (it's Deb's 50th on Monday) so we stayed much later than we expected to. By the time we'd eaten dinner, ice cream and cake I was bloated and half asleep. Before we left, Nat mentioned to Alf that since he couldn't connect his VHS player to his Sky box it wasn't any use to him and that seeing as how ours was broken could we borrow it so that Nat could watch the rest of the Babylon 5 tapes we have at home - cheeky bugger. After we had loaded the VHS player we left at about 7:45 so that I could go to work. Got to work, half asleep by now, just after 9:00 and luckily everyone was in so I was able to book a nights holiday at short notice - don't get shorter. Good thing, I fell asleep as soon as we got home and Deb left me asleep on the sofa when she went to bed.

Ring ring ring ring .....11:45 woke up, the phone was ringing, who the F***, is calling at this time? Hi Donna; Donna, a family friend, had been out with a friend but had lost track of her in the bar they were in, she started feeling panicky and decide to get a taxi and go home. It wasn't until she had got in and was on the way home that she remembered that her money and keys were in her friends bag and when she called her, luckily she still had her phone, she didn't answer. OK Don, Deb's in bed, let me check if shes got any money, I knew I only had a fiver, we're in luck she's got a tenner in her purse. Get the taxi to drop you here and I'll pay him.
10 Min's later, here's the money. Donna was now stuck, we have no spare bed but I said she could stay on the sofa if she wanted. She decided to stay at her Dad's, he lives about 10 Min's away but needed to call him to check if he was home yet - he'd gone out to the Shakespeare in town that evening. No reply home tel so lets try his mobile. I've got my old phone and his numbers not in here. So Donna calls her friend Jonathon to send her her Dad's number but her phone runs out of charge as she's talking to him. So I text J to send info to my phone, which he does and he sends it as a business card. Now I already have another number sent to me by J the same way and when I save this text it saves in the same folder as his other message. So, I open wrong text and try to call this number. No response, it turns out that's the number for the phone Donna has that's just gone dead. Eventually realise error and call correct number - No Reply. Donna stays until 1:00 then leaves with my spare phone which was originally hers before she gave it to me and Han's charger which is the right kind for Donna's phone. 10 Min's later Donna calls from her Dad's house, he wasn't out, he was asleep and as he's very deaf (see previous post picking up the bike) he didn't hear her ring. SORTED.

Decided now I'm far too awake to go to bed so I watched the three episodes of Spooks I'd recorded but hadn't yet watched. Brilliant, as ever, except for the final episode of the series (series 2 I think) that made no sense whatsoever. Is Tom dead and will we ever know if he is or not - roll on series 3?

4.30am bed

Thursday 23 April - PC Nil v Who's The Daddy One

I'd been thinking about the PC and the more I thought the more convinced I became that we had a hardware rather than a software fault. To lose the Hard Drives and both operating systems but to still be able to boot from disk implies a problem with physically accessing the hard drives. With nothing to lose I decide to remove the case and investigate. Half an hour later after tracing wires I was left with what appeared to be a wire fitted with a connector that wasn't connected to anything and, what looked like, a possibly empty connection slot. As I said, nothing to lose, it's out of guarantee and I'm not going to get charged anymore if I take it to PC World faulty as is or faulty as after, if that makes sense. Reconnected, rebuilt and powered up - hello Windows, hello Ubuntu and hello missing hard drives. Who's the Daddy now then?

Han is back at school, she returned on Tuesday, and today she decided to wear her new shoes. Apparently, I'm told, they are the latest fashion, they've got turned up toes, and, so far, she's the only girl in her class with a pair. Naturally (?) this led to her getting some comments about them from a number of the nastier girls and one of the boys - strange behavior for an 8 year old boy! Thankfully she didn't seem too concerned; this is good news because normally she's rather sensitive about this sort of thing and gets quite upset when it happens.

Nat's class did a "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" type quiz today, can't remember the topic - medical I think, and Nat says he was the only one in his class to make it to the million pound question which he got right. "Well done my son!" To celebrate we had a fight, Nat armed himself with a vicious cardboard tube whilst I made do with a simple tea-towel. Why is it so satisfying to flick you first born with a tea towel traveling at near sonic speed? I don't know, but it gives me a buzz so it must be good. Realising his tactical error Nat decided to change weapons and grabbed a mop I retained my trusty towel and soon disarmed him. He then picked up a garden rake, at which point I told him to stop being silly and went indoors. Who's the Daddy now then?

Han was still too poorly to go to Judo so she stayed a home with me and went to bed about 8:45 to listen to Harry Potter on her iPod.

Deb and Nat home around 9:00 we watched the apprentice which was pants, you'll understand if you saw it, then they went to bed.

I stayed up to watch Question Time, David (I take no prisoners) Starkey was one of the panelists and was at his acerbic best. That man doesn't suffer fools gladly or otherwise. I don't know why I like him so much, he's totally arrogant without being arrogant. He's a scholar of the highest calibre who calls it as he sees it without fear or favour, oh yes, now I remember why I like him. In addition to which his history programmes are superb and he's a star on Radio 4's The Moral Maze - when oh when will the BBC get around to making this available as a podcast? Followed this up with This Week which, this week featured David Gest (Liza Minnelli's X) as a guest - what a peculiar looking fellow he is - considering if gossip is corrupting politics and if the public has become obsessed with what MPs are up to - rather than what they believe in?
David Alan Gest is an American concert promoter and media personality, perhaps best known for his turbulent marriage to Liza Minnelli, friendship with The Jackson 5 and appearance on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!.

Did anybody mention very very very very very bad cosmetic surgery. His after pictures look like the before pictures of a very bad burns victim!

To Bed

Wednesday 22 April - Computer Totally F***** Trf hard drive to Nats PC, Rugby Training

As of this morning the computer is completely bollixed. No hard drives, Windows and Ubuntu have vanished completely and the only way i can get anything working is to load Ubuntu from a CD. Event then the only thing the system can find is the Western Book external hard drive (EHD). The first thing to do is transfer as much as I can from the EHD to Nat's computer. Then if I can some how retrieve them I've somewhere to transfer the contents of my hard drives to . Otherwise, if I do a reformat, I'll lose everything stored on them.

The transfer took hours but eventually I managed to free up about 133GB on the EHD by transferring all the Audio books, Films, TV progs and Photos to Nat's spare drive.

Tonight Nat's got rugby training; normally he'd leave early in order to attend scouts but as this is the last training session of the season and the last before the big end of season tournament on Sunday he's going to give scouts a miss and stay for the whole session. It was a nice evening so we all went along, in tee shirts, to watch. They had a new trainer, a guy (I can't recall his name) who is a professional coach and who likes to motivate his students. KILL THEM, SMASH THEM, USE THE BALL LIKE A SPEAR, MAKE THEM FIGHT FOR IT ETC ETC. The lads loved it and the improvement in their performs in the hour and a half was incredible. The question is, will they remember all this on Sunday?

By the end of the first 30 Mins I was frozen, the field is quite exposed and there's always a fair breeze blowing. I had assumed (made an ass out of u and me) that, as usual, one of my fleeces was in the boot of the car but, unbeknown to me, Deb had cleaned out the boot a few days before and sundry coats and such were now safely at home. Never fear, I stole her coat, she had a cardigan after all.

Fin about 7:30 and home.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Tuesday 21 April - Sleepy, Haircut, Boy and Shoes

After yesterday I slept in until 12.30 PM. I eventually managed to suss out how photobucket worked and uploaded some photo's (I'm trying to have a number of separate sites to which I upload our photo's in case one has a catastrophic crash and everything is lost). Now I have sites at Picasa, Ovi, Photobucket, Facebook and Zoomr. I've set up a pixelpipes account and now whenever I upload photos to this account it automatically posts these same photos to all of the sites I've just listed.

Kids home about 3.30, Nat desperate to tell me that he almost scored a rounder today but that he had slipped on the grass at 3rd post and was got out. As we all know, almost only counts in Horse-shoes and hand grenades

Nat and I had our hair cut today, my first time since my virtually head shave prior to my operation. The guy that used to do mine wasn't there and I'm a little unsure about what I've ended up with. Am I heading for a comb-over?

Deb went shopping for new shoes for Hannah, £34.00 no wonder I've never got any money, it's all the day to day purchases that drain you dry not the occasional big one off buys. It's at times like this that I wish I stayed in accountancy, OK I'd probably hate going to work but I would be raking in the big bucks.

Another quite evening nothing further to report.

Monday 20 April - To Borders and Things.

Hannah stayed home with me today; as expected her finger was very painful and the thought of school proved too much to bear. I decided it might be fun to go out and take her mind off things, so I suggested we go to Borders bookshop to see what was new in and that I'd take her to Starbucks afterward for a hot chocolate.

Han couldn't ride her bike, couldn't reach the brakes and hold handlebars with both hands so she went on her scooter. We separated, she went to the kiddies section and I went to the SciFi section. We met up about 30 Min's later and went upstairs to Starbucks. Han had a

I Had

Unfortunately, the dishwasher had broken - they had beaten him too hard - so we had to have our drinks in disposable cups (£4.95 and no offer of a discount for the inconvenience). Some number of people seem to use this Starbucks for off site business meetings and it's really quite fun to eavesdrop on their conversations and try to make some sense out of them.

We made our way home around 2PM and I, being knackered, immediately fell asleep, on the sofa; I'd got home from work at 8am that morning and hadn't slept.

I woke when Deb got home, Nat told her that his sports Kit no longer fit him and he needed a complete new outfit. She when to Fosse Park with him and returned saying that he was now too big for all the kids sports kits (supposedly up to age 14 - Nat's 11) and had had to be fitted out from the small man range, bang goes the VAT exemption so everything just got a lot more expensive.

Didn't do a great deal in the evening, Han couldn't go to cubs, because of her thumb so we stayed home. We all watched the Gadget Show together and then the kids went to bed around 9PM.

By now I was too tired to sleep so I created a photobucket account on the Internet and finally went to bed at about midnight.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Bury My Fart (Heart) at Wounded Thumb (Knee)

What did I miss? Home for 8 AM Nat and Deb off to Rugby training and Hans staying with me. I stayed up until about 11:00 then went to bed where I had to read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows to Han. After which she left me to get some sleep and went downstairs to play on the computer; why oh why did I ever find and tell her about Wambie?

It seems that while I was asleep Deb and Nat returned home, picked up Han and went to the allotment. They weren't there long because when Han got out of the car the wind caught the door and slammed it onto her thumb. After 10 Min's of running it under the tap at the water butt and lots of cuddles she was still crying and apparently was in a lot of pain. In addition her thumb had started to balloon. Into the car and off too Leicester Royal Casualty dept. Han had broken her thumb;

she was also bleeding under the nail. The staff had to piece the nail with a red hot instrument to release the blood and cauterise the wound. Lets hope the nail isn't deformed by this as mine was (I managed to lose 2 nails on a summer job back when I was a student).

She was very brave when I got up and proudly displayed her wounds; I think her thumb will be very sore by morning and perhaps it might be best if she stays home with me for the day rather than going too school.

Last night again at work, I'm on manuals tonight so it'll be a break from talking to the public.

Han goes to the doctor and as she touches each part of her body with her thumb she says, "Doctor it hurts everywhere. My leg hurts, my arm hurts, my neck hurts, and even my head hurts!" The doctor asks, "Have you always been a Blonde?" "Yes, I have." she replies. "Why do you ask?" The doctor answers, "Because your thumb is broken!"

Friday, 17 April 2009

Friday 17 April Birthday Shopping, Police Helicopter and Work

This Day In History

Up very early this AM as we’re off to Town today to buy Mummy’s birthday presents (97 next week and she still doesn't look a day over 80). Rode in with Deb and left her at work whilst we walked into Leicester. Got onto New Walk at the Museum and we then walked down, passed the Catholic Church and all the old town houses, once the abodes of the wealthy but which have now, in the main, been converted into offices, to Kings Street where it terminates in front of
Leicester City Council's New Walk Centre Building.

To the Shops

Walking up Kings Street be came to Belvoir (pronounced Beaver) Street and preceded on until we reached Denhams the Jewellers
Where we bought????
I’m not exactly a frequent frequenter of high class jewellers but if they are all like this I’m impressed, the staff were so helpful, and did not once berate me for bringing two monsters, sorry children, into the shop with me.

When we had finished there we continued into town, we stopped at TBC and bought ???? after which we bought ????
By now Nat could no longer contain himself and threatened to wee himself in the street and cry like a ikkle baby if I didn’t take him to the games workshop shop

and leave him there to play Warhammer 40,000. Well, I don’t normally give in to blackmail but it was a chance to dump the little s… As usual, the place was busy with teenage nerds fighting wars armed only with dice and tape measures. I’m still not sure how the place stays in business as they don’t appear to charge anyone for using the gaming facilities. I presume that they must sell these people lots of models and books and sh*t…isn’t it. Leaving Nat has happy as a pig in poo Han and I walked on until we reached the Heart Foundation charity shop. I popped in to look at the 2nd hand books and stayed whilst Han tried on all the clothes in the store.

The Apple Store

Craftily, I guided Han toward the Apple Store, telling her that it now sold clothes for beautiful girls like her (Sucker!!!). Oh, the joy, Oh the joy, Oh let the joy be unconfined, iPhones, iMacs, iPods iIs iN iHeaven! Apple products truly are things of beauty but my god are they expensive! Steve Jobs makes the rapacious Bill Gates look like a philanthropist, which of course he now is. If there’s anyone who can gouge an extra buck outta you it’s gotta be Apple.
Their latest offer, via O2, is a case in point. Because sales of the iPhone 3G have virtually stopped, in anticipation of a new model appearing in June, we are told we can now get an iPhone for free if we sign up for a £34 pm contract with O2 (previously you paid, in addition to the £34pm, another £99 for the 8GB phone and £199 for the 16GB phone). What’s not pointed out is that this is a 24 month contract not an 18 month one as before so in point of fact you’ll be paying approximately an additional £200. Crafty Jobsy.

The Siren's Call

It was fantastic in there, I played with an iPhone for about 15 Mins and when I looked round I discovered Han had vanished! I’d got so absorbed that I hadn’t noticed her go off and play on an iMac! Luckily for me the security guard had and he pointed her out to me. I’ve never ever let either one out of my sight when we’ve been in town before.
Like Ulysses, who was tied to the mast in order to resist the Siren's calls, perhaps, if you're to resist the call of the iPhone, you should be tied to your kids before you enter the store!

Anyway, Han was safe and happy and having great fun on a Mac. I had a look at them too and ended up chatting to one of the store staff. Yes, it'd a definite maybe, we're getting a Mac.

Give Generously, Feed the Children

We eventually extricated ourselves away and had a wander around the rest of the place, including a very brief trip through Waterstones where Han dragged me passed the Sony reader and wouldn't let me stay and play. Immediately after we'd left the centre and were in the street Han announced both that she needed the toilet and that she was hungry. Luckily, as she cutely pointed out, we were passing a McDonald's where, as she said, she could have a happy pee followed by a happy meal. I think I was ambushed. We checked Nat was OK first; he was happily playing Warhammer with the other nerds, then we went to MacD's, as we were running low on cash so I had nothing. After she's finished and after she had generously given me 2 fies and half a chicken nugget Han and I we left to fetch Nat, who was now hungry..AHHHHHHHHH.

Got him a Subway and made our way back to New Walk Museum. Got there just before 1Pm, I had a sit in the foyer while the two of them explored the ground floor. Deb called and we agreed I'd bring the kids to her in about 30 Min's. We went upstairs and discovered a new kids activity centre which they made use of until we had to leave. Car park, car,rest, drive, home, bed, up for 6, to work!!!!

Another Siren's Call

On the way to work we passed a whole load of Police cars on Aylstone Road. They had their blues and two's going like the clappers (hence the heading) and the Police helicopter was flying back and forth over head. I've no idea what had happened, I've checked the Leicestershire Constabulary news feed but there's nothing there.

At work tried to cancel some holiday days and book some others but, as usual, becaue we work nights and overlap days it didn't do either properly. Eventually got it sorted. Fairly quite night.

The End.

Wednesday 15 April - The Allotment Society AGM

This Day In History

Up early in time for daily JK lesson – you will not be chavs my children. After pottering about we took Monty out for a long walk across to the playing fields where both Nat and Han ran round the field with him. They’re getting faster and their endurance is increasing.

When we got home we grabbed our bikes and set out to see the new play area that’s been built in the Osiers (a local nature walk). Less a play area and more a series of advanced exercise machines (see photos). We were gone longer than we had realised. Deb rang me when she came home to find out where we were. Cycled home to have tea and be ready to leave for the Allotment Annual General Meeting at the Civic Centre at 7.30PM

We left Nat and Han at home and Deb and I arrived at the AGM at about 7:20. Found some seats and sat back to observe the fun. As new allotment holders we both agreed it would be better to listen rather than speak. See Agenda

The meeting was sparkier than we had expected. We had envisioned, I suppose, a very gentile affair, what we saw more closely resembled the student council meeting of our youth. There was a definite tension between the two sites* that make up the society. Apparently, there have been a number of society events put on during the last year aimed at raising money to fund the building and installation of a composting toilet

on Site One (Rosamond – where we have our plot) but not on Site Two (Braunstone). Some members from S2 wanted to know this was; they were told, in no uncertain terms, that this was because when they were asked if they wanted a similar toilet they had said no. Members wanted to know why the Societies carried forward fund was so large (£7000+) and what they were going to be spent on. There was a general agreement that the committee would examine any proposals put forward by members. Possibly £1000 could be allocated to each site for specific improvements. The meeting lasted about an hour and afterward we all (Rosamond anyway) adjourned to the bar. This was the first chance either of us had really had to meet other members and everyone appeared to be very pleasant. Spoke, specifically to Pat Bates and her son Richard (?), who we sitting next too, and too others I also spoke to George, the site manager about getting society and member’s site photo’s loaded to Google Maps. I’ve previously agreed to call to his house to help him do this on his PC. About 9:15 we made our apologies and left to check that the kids hadn’t burnt the house down.

Home about 9:30, put the kids to beer, then had a few beds – are you seeing a pattern here?

*At one time The Leicester Permanent Allotment Society was a single, very large, site but during the 1970’s, I believe, part of it was sold off for housing development. The result was now 2 sites separated by the development – which was not small – in fact I hadn’t, though Deb had, been aware that there was another site.

Thursday 16 April - Babylon 5

This Day In History

Very Wet Today so we stayed in. For some reason I decided to take a look at what “on demand” TV was available on Virgin cable, God knows why when I’ve got nearly 70 hours of recorded programmes on the PVR box that I haven't yet watched. I was happy to find out that the first 12 episodes of Season 3* of Babylon 5

were available to watch. Nat and I had watched the first 2 series on video, I have the boxed sets of the 1st 4 series on VHS, but when the video died and didn’t replaced it. We, surprisingly, managed to persuade Han to join us and we watched the first 4 episodes together before Deb came home. I’d forgotten how good a programme B5 was, particularly the third series where the Shadow War really gets under way and Marcus joins the team. If, dear reader, you’ve never seen this programme get the DVD’s you’re in for a treat. You can find out more here.

Don’t recall that we did anything else very earth shaking. 9:30, put the kids to beer, then had a few beds – are you still seeing a pattern here?

*Season 3 – year 2260

The Psi Corps and President Clark, whose government has discovered Shadow vessels buried in Earth's solar system, begin to harness the vessels' advanced technology. The Clark administration continues to become increasingly xenophobic and totalitarian, and uses a military incident as an excuse to declare martial law. This triggers a war of independence on Mars, which had long had a strained political relationship with Earth. Babylon 5 also declares independence from Earth, along with several other outlying Earth Alliance colonies. In response, the Earth Alliance attempts to retake Babylon 5 by force, but with the aid of the Minbari, who have allied with the station against the growing Shadow threat, the attack is repelled.

Becoming concerned over the Shadows' growing influence amongst his people, Centauri ambassador Londo Mollari attempts to sever ties with them. Mr. Morden, the Shadows' human representative, tricks him into restoring the partnership by engineering the murder of Mollari's mistress. Open warfare breaks out between the Shadows and the alliance led by Babylon 5 and the Minbari. It is learned that genetic manipulation by the Vorlons is the source of human telepathy, as it is later discovered that Shadow ships are vulnerable to telepathic attacks. Displeased at the Vorlons' lack of direct action against the Shadows, Captain John Sheridan browbeats Vorlon ambassador Kosh Naranek into launching an attack against their mutual enemy. Kosh's deeds lead to his subsequent assassination by the Shadows.

Upon returning to the station, former commander Jeffrey Sinclair enlists the aid of Captain Sheridan, Delenn, Ivanova and Marcus and convinces them to help him steal the Babylon 4 space station, intending to send it back in time 1,000 years to use it as a base of operations against the Shadows in the first Minbari-Shadow war. Undergoing the same transformation as Delenn at the end of Season 1, Sinclair transforms into a Minbari and is subsequently revealed to be the actual Valen of Minbari legend, rather than a reincarnation. Spurred by the reappearance of his assumed-dead wife (who now works for the Shadows), Sheridan travels to Z'ha'dum, the Shadow homeworld, in an attempt by them to recruit him. However he instead destroys their largest city in a kamikaze nuclear attack, and is last seen jumping into a miles-deep pit to escape the explosion. Garibaldi, during a fight with Shadow vessels, goes missing.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Tuesday 14 April - PC's Maths, Bicycles and a Sleep Over

This Day In History

I Am Buying An Apple Mac... I Am Buying An Apple Mac... I Am Buying An Apple Mac...I Am Buying An Apple Mac...I Am Buying An Apple Mac!!!!!!!!!!

Or A Mac-Book

because once again the PC is buggered, and this time it’s buggered BIG TIME!!!!!

The Main hard drive appears to have vanished. I came down this am and found it off. When I tried to start it up I noticed I got the CPU over temperature warning, which usually means the fans are clogged with dust and the case needs removing so that I can use and air blower on the inside. Dully did so. Tried to fire the system up again but still no sign of Windows XP or Ubuntu 08.04. Loaded the Knoppix rescue disk and load it in repair bios format. Knoppix loaded OK but when I shut down and restarted still no Windows or Ubuntu. Loaded the Ubuntu disk I’d made and this was OK of course it didn’t show the files I saved on the copy I’d installed alongside windows but it did show that the hard drives weren’t showing. I’ve tried all I know through out the week, with the exception of going the windows rescue route, as I want to save the files if possible, but no luck. I’ve got a working system only if I load Ubuntu from disk and of course nothing is saved unless I save it on line – thank god for Google Docs. I may put the old PC back on line, with Ubuntu loaded on the system, whilst I think about what to do. As at Sat 18/4 the situation remains as described above.


Nat’s been given quite a bit of work by Deb, and the lady who takes his extra lessons class, to do over the break in anticipation of his SATs tests. Today he was having trouble with percentages, not the concept so much; he’s got that when he thinks about it, but more the mechanics of working them out and converting back and forth between decimal, fraction and percentage. They haven’t enough time at school to cover these areas for long enough so it’s hardly surprising that so many kids give up on maths at secondary school. You can’t build on weak foundations in this subject. If you haven’t understood what went before you ain’t got as chance of understanding what you’re doing now. I spent some time with him trying to help and give him some tips; the trouble is that this level of maths comes so naturally to me that I find it difficult to understand where he might be having a problem – my fault not his. Personal experience of badly taught secondary school maths illustrates my point. When I arrived, at secondary school, I was really pretty good at maths and I though by the time we had done O level that I had understood everything we had done to date and that I was well set up to start studying for A level maths at Bedwellty Grammar (the 6th form school we transferred to if we stayed on to do A levels). It was only when I got there and had been to the first lesson that I discovered that my low O level mark, wasn't due to the fact that I’d had a bad day but was, rather, due to the fact that we hadn’t covered half the syllabus because we’d had an incompetent teacher. Suffice to say, that like all good rats I quickly abandoned the sinking ships of maths and physics and sailed off on the good ships history and economics. Those who had transferred from the same school as I and who stayed aboard drown to a man when they took their exams. From day one they were lost and as each day passed they drifted further and further off course.

It’s Bicycle Repairman

I had arranged with Deb to meet her at the bike shop, after she finished work, so that she could pay for the repairs to the bike and I could ride it home. Approx 02:45pm I left the kids at home and set off to walk there. I thought I’d give myself extra time because it is still pain full to walk and how painful varies from day to day. As I was making my way under the underpass I was approached by a couple in their 20’s who were clearly lost and who a wanted to get to Kingsway North, we’re Kingsway South. I wasn’t sure of the best way to suggest that they go so I pulled out my trusty Nokia N95 fired up the GPS and opened up Google maps.

I got the address they were looking for entered it as the destination for our current location and a few seconds later I had the best route for them door to door, GPS in a phone, its gobsmakingly amazing when you think about it!

Once more, I set off on my quest to reach the bicycle shop before Deb got there. As I emerged from the underpass who should I bump into but John, Donna’s dad. John is a smashing Geordie

fellow, he’s lived in Leicester for years but not lost his accent, and I like him immensely. The only problem is, that he’s quite deaf and it’s difficult to have a conversation sometimes because, he mishears what you say. Despite this we happily chatted as we walked, together, down Narbro Rd. By now I was expecting Deb to be there, waiting for me, but surprisingly, despite the distractions, I still arrived first... Deb arrived, eventually, and we paid for and picked up my bike. Amazing, I now had brakes that worked and a new basket with a handle on it! I cycled home whilst Deb went to ASDA for provisions for tonight’s sleep over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jacob’s Coming!!

Nat’s been desperate for his friend Jacob to come for a sleep over at our house, he’s already been to his, so tonight was to be the night. After his extra lesson he and Deb would pick up Jacob and bring him back for the night. When Deb returned from ASDA y6ou’d have thought she’d been shopping to feed the 5,000!

How much food, even with the help of an 8 yr old girl, can 2 11 yr old boys eat. Pop, crisps, chips, dips, coke, sausages, sausage rolls, biscuits etc etc…

Jacob arrived and after Monty spat him back up, he went upstairs with Nat (Han was in close pursuit). The plan, games and films upstairs, them downstairs to watch films and TV (especially Family Guy which they love)

No Sleep Ever WE R Staying Up.

They came down about 10:00 and I stayed down with them until around 12:00, saw a couple of episodes of FG (Is this programme really suitable for 11yr olds?) with them before I went up to Nat’s room to use his computer. Deb told me next morning that she had popped down around 3 AM and found them both fast asleep with Quantum of Solace playing in the background. Because Han had climbed into bed with Deb and fallen asleep I left her there and eventually bedded down in Nat’s room.


Monday 13 April - Open Day at the Allotment

This Day In History

Early start today, up for 9, we’re off to the allotment to get some serious work done and to take part in the open day. But first, we have to watch Jeremy Kyle ripping apart another group of dysfunctional sociopaths from the “new” Great British Underclass. These are the real children of Thatcher. What she did, Re:the economy, had to be done; but the consequences were far more far reaching than she ever thought they would be, if in deed she ever did think about them. She was most certainly wrong about there being no such thing as society, there certainly was such a thing before she, through her actions and her lack of concern for the unintended consequences of those actions, created this enormous self-perpetuating group of asocial fuck-ups. Every morning it’s like watching a rerun of the same mistakes made by the same people with the same lack of foresight. Anyway JK was great fun and once more did the job of proving to me that no matter how low my self esteem might fall there are still people who are far below this level on their best day. How strange that some else’s lack of life chances makes me feel better about my own inadequacies. Judging by how popular he is it must do the same job for many others. Thanks JK for making me realise I’m a Cu*t.

Off we go, everyone into the car and lets hope Mummy doesn’t slam the breaks on because if she does one of us is getting impaled on a rake. Last time we’ll have to do this, from now on they can stay in the shed. Got to the main gates
at about 11:00 to see everyone setting up the stalls for the Easter open day stall sale – all the money’s going toward a composting toilet for the Rosamond Avenue site, which will turn out to be an issue at the SAGM later in the week.

We got a lot of work done today. Nat, after a few fraught attempts, managed to get the potatoes trenches lined with comfrey leaves and the seed potatoes laid on the top of them and covered over. I finished off the roofing on the shed, laid a carpet inside and then pulled back the covers at the front of the plot and dug it over. Deb took the kids to see the stalls whilst I got this done. She and Han had been weeding and planting up until then. I got it dug over and when they returned we put up the bean sticks and the pea nets (add Pics when able). We stopped for a drink and some nibbles. Deb was trying to clear the area around the shed where the fruit beds and fruit trees are. I removed some of the covers from the grassed over areas and dug up a number of clog’s of earth. The kids for some reason started digging a trench over on the other side of the plot just down from the shed, but were happy to take my clog’s and put them there, God knows why but it kept them quite. I took the kids with me to see the stalls and to give Deb a break; she was beginning to feel quite unwell and was developing a stinker of a headache. We had a look round the stalls and I paid 20p for a patch work elephant that Han has christened Elitusk and who now shares her room. Got chatting with Pat (PJ) Bates wife of the chairman (Eddie) and recently retired teachers at the kid’s school. Popped back, tied up put the tools away and headed for home around 4:15. We stopped to check if we’d won a raffle prize but no such luck. Home around 4:30.

We were all pretty knackered and Deb, by this time, just wanted to crash (yes I’m an aging hippy – Man). Watched a few, of our many, recorded programmes, 2 episodes of Argumental, with John Sergeant, Marcus Brigstock and Rufus Hound, which was well funny man (yes I is down wid da yuff 2 ).

Made something to eat, had a few beers and settled in for the evening in front of the telly. Not a bad day!

Sunday At Home

Slept until 3pm after which can't remember much else of the day. That's the problem with our last night. If you can't stay up when you get home you lose the day. Trouble is if you struggle to stay up and then you fail and you still want to get back to a normal sleep pattern for the next day you have to get up mid afternoon when you're still tied and then spend the remainder of the day semi-comatosed before going back to bed - Hence - NOTHING 2 Report.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

The Piccadilly Cowboys

Adding books to LibraryThing (whose widget, in a post below this one, appears to have died) has been quite an odd experience. I keep dredging books up from memory and suddenly started to remember all the western series that I was hooked on during the 70's and 80's. Like the cowboy film genre the western book genre had all but died by the mid 80's. However for 10 years these western anti-heroes were so popular that they had their own section in most bookshops. The original was Edge the Loner by George G Gilman (real name Terry Hacknett) and this character spawned a plethora of imitations, some very good some not so great. Oddly enough it appears that all these various titles were written by a very small coterie of writers (Hacknett amonsgt them) who were collectively known as The Piccadilly Cowboys.

Looking at the various websites it would appear that I collected virtually every one of every one (if you get my meaning) of these series with only a few exceptions.

Those I collected included:

The Writers


and of course the man who started the ball rolling:

The Man Called George G Gilman

One of the things I really liked about these books was the consistent cover art. Once a character's appearance was established it was maintained, from book cover to book cover, for the entire series run however long that might prove to be. The other good thing was, these were series, you could look forward to the next book and there were so many series you could be sure there would be one along almost weekly.

Latin For The 21st Century in 140 Twitterable Characters.

Latin for the 21st Century the first and possibly last lesson - veni, vidi, video - I came, I saw, I videoed (then uploaded it to you tube).

Latin for the 21st Century 2 - Quod erat demonstrandum fx (QEDfx) - what was to be demonstrated was done with photoshop & wicked graphics man!

Latin for the 21st Century 3 - Quid pro quo - Something for something from a very low maintenance dyslexic hooker who bills you in sterling.

Latin for the 21st Century 4 - Semper fidelis Jeremy Kyleis -

Always faithful until Jeremy reads aloud the results of the lie detector test.

Latin for the 21st Century 5 - Semper paratus fredricshredis

- Always ready to take an unearned and undeserved pension whenever I can so FU

Latin for the 21st Century 6 - Yo puella sermo ut spolium quoniam manus manus est off officium
-Yo girl talk 2 da booty cos da hands off duty

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Rugby - Leicester Tigers V Bath - Heineken Cup quarter-final

Home, Bed, up for 4:00pm as we going to go to a rugby match. Deb managed to get 4 tickets for the Leicester v Bath match kick-off 6:00pm.
It was a fantastic game, slow to get started, very defensive, but it gradually got more and more tense. Bath were very much in the driving seat during the 2nd half ( the 1st half ended with Leicester ahead) and as the end of the match drew near the teams were tied 15 all and it looked as if the game would go to extra time.

At roughly 79 Min's and 40 secs Tigers scored, under the posts, and it was all over, the stadium erupted. Julien Dupuy's brilliant last-minute try gave Leicester Tigers a 20-15 win over Bath Rugby in the quarter-final of the Heineken Cup.
The Frenchman found a gap in the Bath defence from the back of a ruck to dart through and score under the posts.
His opportunist effort with the last play of the game brought the Walkers Stadium to its feet and booked a semi-final game against Cardiff Blues.

It added to five penalty kicks from man-of-match Sam Vesty, whose 100 per cent kicking record replied to a try in each half for Shaun Berne and Joe Maddock, and a penalty and conversion for Butch James.

A good time had been had by all. For in depth coverage follow the above link.

And Now - Too Work; last night tonight off until next Friday as I'm taking Thursday night as a holiday so I can spend the week with the kids, I should have my bike back so it'll be a chance to get back into the saddle and do a little exploring.

My Librarything - Still In Development

This Day in History - 11 April

05:36am - So bored I've spent the last hour writing twitters of exactly 140 characters includin the spaces;

#goodfriday He was dead until Sunday, then the Bunny found an egg, which it hatched, so that he was the 1st born again Born Again Christian

Atwitternation those that tirelessly twitter their theories to those they think take the trouble to thoroughly think through their thoughts.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Download Free Books

Good Friday

This Day In History - 10 April
So, Whats Good Friday All About Then?

Summary of Good Friday

A Christian Festival that Commemorates the crucifixion
and death of Jesus Christ* (the Son of God in Christian mythology).

Date Friday immediately preceding Easter Sunday
2009 date April 10 (Western)
April 17 (Eastern)
2010 date April 2 (Western)
April 9 (Eastern)
Celebrations No traditional celebrations
Observances Prayer and vigil services, fasting,
almsgiving, some family gatherings

* Apparently he stayed dead until the Sunday when the Easter Bunny found an egg from which he was hatched to be born again as the first born again Christian.

Home for 8:00am, kids not up chatted with Deb, had a beer.

Deb took the kids out for the day, I’ve not been made privy to what they did/). I went to bed.
Up for 6:00pm, pizza for tea which we unanimously didn't eat, twas orrid...I know not why. I went to work. No staff so despite the fact that call volumes were tiny we were quite busy. Dawn returned my pen drive and brought me an Easter HotXBun (thanks Dawn).

I logged onto Librarything, for the first time in months, and uploaded a few more titles. I embedded their widget on this site (see above if you haven't already). and noticed that I'd received a friendship request from Eve BrownWaite, now normally I tend to ignore these, as I'm usually decades older that the person making the request and I don't want to be accused of grooming anything except horses. For some reason, on this occasion, I decided to check this one out and I'm glad I did; her bio is hilarious and she's written a book that I think I might buy.

Shook Changes effect BBC News Website, police suspect hackers involved. A BBC spokesman today confirmed the accuracy of the Oral Sex story, but then, the HE would, wouldn't he!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Thursday 9 April 2009 - An Original Title If Ever There Was One

9 April - On This Day In History
If you click the link above, you'll be astonished by what memorable things have happened on this date in history.... However, I really can't say that this day has stood out in any particular way.

Got home just before 8:00am intending to take the kids and Monty for a walk before climbing the stairs to Bedfordshire. Unfortunately this AM was cold, wet and overcast so my initially intention needed a rethink. It's the holidays and I forgot to recharge the prod so the kids got to stay in bed a little longer that I had intended. Necessity is the Mother of invention... boiling water thrown onto the bed works as well as a fully charged prod...Hurrah!

After treating their burns I prepared breakfast for the two of them, A handful of Hot Blue Gravel for Nat

Whereas Han expressed a preference for raw Spiders.

By this time the prod had recharged so I had no difficulty with them when it came to eating breakfast.

As I mentioned above the weather was pretty shitty and got worse so I went to bed and left the horrors to their own devices. Went to sleep to The Economist's optimistic (ha ha) assessments of the World economic meltdown. On the subject of economics I've recently come across a new biweekly online economics magazine that's very good; here's the link - Global Economist Review

Anyway, I slept the day away, wasn't woken by the kids fighting, which is a good sign, and was up for 6:00pm.

At work I did the manuals so I had a fairly quite night after I'd helped Julie B clear the EA work. Munched my way through 4 HotXBuns so it's no wonder I'm getting so fat, can't wait to start cycling again even if it's only for a short while. Nothing much else to report, finished 7:30am and headed for home.