Sunday, 31 May 2009

Sunday 31May - Strimming the Allotment and Stuff

As planned we went to the allotment and hired the society's strimmer. I kicked arse and managed to clear almost all of the tall grass and bushes at the top end of the plot. I went through 2 and a half tanks of petrol and finally stopped when there was no cable left on the strimmer, I wasn't going to try and put the new one on, that's a job for someone with the time and experience. I'd extended the cable 4 times during the morning, and enough was enough. Whilst I was doing g this, Nat tried his hand at documentary film making, with my N82 and Han followed this up with a videoed interview with Mummy's boobs. Their efforts are shown below.

Nat: Documentary Film Maker

Hannah: Video Reporter

4 hours had passed by now and we decided to call it quits for the day, Deb, as Han's report reveals, had been busy weeding and sundry whilst I was strimming and we were all feeling the need for a rest and a feed.

So we headed Home for dinner, traditional Sunday roast with pork and all the trimmings....yum yum!

After lunch I called Bharat to see how he was getting along and to find out what had happened to him. It seems he had a blackout and fell down stairs. Luckily he was not seriously hurt bad he had sustained quite a lot of internal bruising and was in a deal of pain. We spoke for about 8 minutes, which, for me, constitutes a marathon phone call... I hope he appreciated it! After this I dosed for awhile and let my arches develop to their full magnitude.

About 7pm we popped back to the plot to do some watering and to put the chest from home into the shed. While Deb and Han watered Nat and I did this and then filled it and rearranged the tools in the shed.

When we were leaving we stopped for a chat with Daniel's (class mate of nat's)mum and dad. We chatted about what it was like having an allotment and our experiences with Karen while Daniel's Dad kept on grafting.

Back home all knackered, not quite sure about why re: the kids and aching. Watched the google box until bedtime.I fell asleep on the sofa...again!

Saturday 30 May - Spotify, Hannah Montana, Bharat's Trip

I installed Spotify, )in Ububtu Linux - I actually wrote some code) and we listened to music all day long whilst potting about in the garden. It's a lovely little application and I had great fun creating a 1970's punk play list until Han decide she wanted Hannah Montana, Abba, Katy Perry etc and Daddy had to create a new list.

I boxed up and booked my N95 in for repair. It's funny, since I got the N82 I think of the N95 as broken when in fact it's just suffering from a few minor faults that I've "happily" lived with for the last 6 months.

In the afternoon we spent a few hours at the allotment digging some additional trenches and removing as much bind weed as we could. Tomorrow's strimming day so we wanted to do as much of what was needed as we could today.

Received a text from Hasmukh requesting sponsorship, he's doing a 23 mile walk, and advising me that Bharat had been injured in a fall. Replay promising a Fiver and will call later re Bharat. Called from home, it appears Bharat experienced a blackout and fell down his stairs at home. He's been badly bruised but is OK. Luck escape bearing in ind what I previously wrote concerning my late friend Baz.

Sleepy evening, Beer and Tramadol - I pulled muscle at the allotment and it was rather painful; once more fell asleep on the sofa!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Friday 29 May - Batteries Fry Feet Reggie!

The 3 high capacity batteries I ordered for the N82 arrived this am; I installed one and ran it to exhaustion with very heavy usage and then recharged (fully charged within 2 hours) seems fine lets hope the other 2 are also.

Installed more apps on N82 and twiddled: getting there.

I sat in the Sun for awhile, Han stuck my feet in a bowl of ice cold water to stop the smell. I began reading Stephen Fry's America (spin-off from TV series), he writes beautifully; it's as if he were next to you speaking, the words flow superbly. Public school ah - wish I'd gone!

Deb and I popped to the allotment and dug another trench, for cabbages - see photos; we left Nat & Han at home. Dug what was needed, met Sally, who as plot further along, and chatted for 20 Min's. It truly is a lovely place to spend your time, everybody is very friendly and always willing to offer advice to novices like ourselves.

Home, BBQ cheating, I cooked burgers and sausages etc, but did them under the grill, we couldn't be arsed to wait for the BBQ to be ready.

Read a little and watched some Telly, I particularly enjoyed Have I Got News For You (is David Mitchell becoming an anorexic? Every time I see him on TV these days, which seems to be everyday at the moment, he looks thinner.).

The new take on Reginald Perrine, with Martin Clunes, is also excellent. I missed the original series (though remember a friend coming to school after every episode quoting Reggie's boss CJ(?) "I didn't get where I am today.....) with Leonard Rossiter which was, I remember, highly acclaimed; this version seems to be holding it's own, so far. I don't know why but I really like Martin Clunes his Doc Martin is superb, despite the disconnect between the original specials and the ongoing series.

Can't recall anything else worth of bed.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Thursday 28 May - My N82 Arrived, Conkers, Donighton le heath, 4 terrible hours debranding and updating N82 firmware.

We were off to Conkers (the award winning attraction at The Heart of the National Forest, a unique mix of indoor and outdoor experiences to keep you and your family engaged for hours), this AM and I was desperately hoping that the postman would arrive before we left. Hurray he has and he's brought my N82! It's quickly unwrapped and admired by all, well I admired it. I swapped out the sim card from my N95 and powered up. Good and bad news, it's recognised the sim so the phones not locked but it's still carrying all the O2 branding and I can't establish a 3G connection. Grabbed it, the N95 and headed for the car. 20 miles later turned round and went back for the kids, not really, we didn't go back, texted them a tin opener and told them to get on with it. Opps, they're in the back, I'm concentrating on this phone too hard. I'm familiar with the menu structure that Nokia uses on the N series and during the journey i was able to go into the setting menu and establish an access point for the 3 mobile sim, got the GPS up and running and used it to navigate to Conkers. Gave Deb the simless N95 so she could use it to take photo's and geotag them.

Conkers was just as I remembered it from 7 yrs ago, when it opened, except that now the trees had started to grow. To be honest, there's not a lot to do there. Once you've ridden on the train, walked the paths climbed the obstacle course and had a look around the centre that's it. It took about 2 hours and I took a shed load of photos with the N82 (see below).
We left, I thought to go home, but Deb had other ideas and before we knew it we had arrived at Donnington le heath Manor house museum. The museum is based in a Medieval Manor House dating back to 1280. The house has a fascinating history and is now restored with fine oak furnishings.

We arrived home at about 5pm and I decided to get straight on with debranding the N82. I knew this was going to be a big job but i had no idea how long it was going to take and how fraught I would be at the end of it. I needed to do two things, first I needed to remove the O2 software and secondly I needed to update the Nokia firmware. I was astonished to find when I checked the firmware edition that the previous owner had never updated this and that the phone was still running the original 2007 firmware. To get rid of the O2 branding i needed to replace it's product code with the generic Nokia European code for this model. I got the generic code off of a Google search and then proceeded to change it using another piece of software. This software id the Nemesis Service Suite and details about it are at this link

The debranding wasn't too hard but updating was a nightmare. it always takes a long time and there's a message telling you, Don't disconnect, Don't use the phone, Don't run out of battery etc cos if you do you'll brick your phone (it becomes an inert block of plastic that needs special attention to get it working again). Time and again I updated only to have it fail right toward the end. This meant I had to cox the thing into picking up where it had failed and trying to get it to carry on from there. At 7.30 the kids went to judo, I continued trying, at 9:15 they came home, 5 minutes later I finished the job and finally had a debranded phone with the latest firmware installed. I felt like someone had battered me with a 2 by 4 by 4 by 4.

Downstairs for a play, re-established WLAN connection and made a list of what software to load, but, not tonight. Collapsed on sofa exhausted, nodded off to bed????

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Wednesday 27 May - Star Trek & Night in the Museum 2, University Homecoming 2009

Went to an early morning showing of Star Trek and A Night in the Museum 2 at the cinema. We saved money by getting 2 for 1 on Orange Wednesday tickets;it's what spare mobiles are for.

Nat and I saw Star Trek which was absolutely brilliant. The film managed to totally destroy all previous continuity so now they can do whatever they want in future films. Zachary Quinto as Spock is superb, he plays, equally well, the sociopathic Sylar in the TV series heroes. I hope there's a sequel it deserves one.

Deb and Han didn't say if their film was good but apparently our next trip to the USA is to include a visit to the Smithsonian!

When we got home the postman had been and included in amongst all the junk mail were this years University Homecoming booklets (we get one each. As I've previously mentioned I already knew about the planned refurbishment of the Percy Gee and had planned to attend homecoming this year for one last look. I went on line and registered for the events we want to go to, including the tour of the building.

I checked on eBay to see if there were any updates, in addition to the N82 I'd purchased some spare high capacity batteries for it last evening - smart phones eat batteries and i always carry at least one spare with me. Great news, per seller email my N82 was dispatched 10:16 am today; in addition, he has also already left me excellent feedback, must reciprocate if the phones as good as I hope it will be.

We spent some more time at the allotment, more digging weeding and planting: lets hope the kids are learning, after all that's the plan. If everything goes to hell in a hand basket hopefully they'll know how to grow their own food! I'm becoming, a very much, glass half empty person when it comes to the future. I don't think we are going to get our act together until things go really pear shaped. People, especially in the West, don't want to face reality; unless we seriously cut back on personal consumption the consequences, for the climate and other things, will be severe! In a way the current economic recession may be something of a wake-up call to the under 30's. However, the major problem we face is this; the World economic system is based on the premise of ever increasing growth in output so that over time everyone gets wealthier and wealthier and eventually we all share the consumption patterns of middle class westerners. This is an impossible system to sustain. It's Malthus Time!

Home, put my soapbox away, the usual!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Tuesday 26 May - Snibston and Nokia N82

Last Summer Deb managed to get hold of a number of free entry passes to a number of local venues and had planned to make use of them during this half-term break, it's why we took leave. Today we're off to Snibston Discovery Park Snibston, Ashby Road, Coalville, Leicestershire, LE67 3LN to discover all about the history of coal mining in the Midlands and to see the technology museum that's been built on the site of the old mine. It's a fascinating place and the tour was superb. We were taken around the site by a former miner who had worked there for over 25 yrs, man and boy; during this time he had done almost every job there was that was down a mine. In addition to this he was a natural story teller, a joy to listen too and a mine (sorry) of grisly information, the kids loved it.

The technology museum itself is an eclectic mix of industrial history and science and difficult to pin down. As can be seen below, we took lots of photo's and as a picture speaks a 1,00 words I'll end there.

Let joy be unconfined, I have finally got my hands on my own N82 Camera Phone. Before we left that morning I decided to bid on an N82 on eBay. Because we might still have been out when the auction ended I put in a realistic maximum bid based on the final prices I had seen them going for in the last couple of weeks. These varied between a low of £85.00 and a high of £130. I decided I'd be willing to go as high as £110 so bid that and a few pence. I'd forgotten all about it when we got home and it wasn't until later that Deb asked me why we owed £103 on eBay that I remembered what I'd done. Why am I so cuffed, check out the following links
The N82 Blog
Nokia N82 Details
Nokia N82 - part 1 - The Physical, the Camera
Nokia N82 - part 2 - GPS, Applications and Performance
The Nokia N82 on a Belated Pedestal: Out in the Real World again

This is the N95 with the camera it should have had. It's the last phone designed by Nokia's dedicated camera team before they split and has never been bettered by a later Nokia model. it's considered by many to be the best N series phone there's been. I've got hooked on photography since I got a decent camera phone and this phone is the one I've always wanted.

I can't wait for it to arrive, but as I lack a time machine I'll have too!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Monday 25 May - A Day at the Allotment

We were up reasonably early, mid-morning, and after breakfast we were off for a hard days work. We got a reasonable amount done, see photo's below, and were there for most of the day.

Home, for dinner our first home/own grown veg - a lovely cabbage. When I say for dinner that's not exactly correct, the kids had cabbage, raw with dirt for pudding, Deb and I had freshly caught baby dolphin kebabs, Yum Yum!

We were all fairly knackered so settled down for the evening, Han upstairs listening to Harry Potter on her iPod, Nat fighting Warhammer 40,000 on his PC and Deb and I watching the Goggelbox. We lead such exciting lives, thank god for the ET upstairs without it we could bore for Britain.

Monday 25 May - Curry, Holidays, BBQ, Tent, Film

I'd forgotten to mention that we had a curry night at work last Thursday. John bought and brought a selection of Morrison's best, I brought some beers, 4 Cobra non-alcoholic and 4 weekly alcoholic 91 Pence specials, and the others bought sundry comestibles; it was an enjoyable night and made a change.

7.30 I'm on Holiday for 12 days - Hurray. Home too bed, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

No ideas what I did on Friday so it can't have been very exciting, I must get a life, no woner time flys, everyday blends seamlessly into another - tempus fugit

Saturday - I refer the honorable reader to my previous paragraph.

Slept late on Sunday and missed the allotment, I've got into the habit of staying up until the early hours even when I'm not working and not going to bed until 4 or 5 am.
Deb came back and had a moan, what's new - she enjoys it and I hate to disappoint her and deprive her of her little pleasures (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

we all mooched about the house and garden until it was time for MAN'S Work. We were having a BBQ. Whilst I prepared the flames to receive their meaty delights the kids exercised themselves battering each other with the fighting sticks Deb had bought at ASDA. You know the type, 2 foam rubber "Q" tips as made famous, I think, by the TV show Gladiators.

Soon the food was ready and we all tucked in, taking bets, as we ate, as to who would be the first to succumb to food poisoning! It was a dead heat.

After the ambulance had left and we were all feeling a little better, the kids asked if they could sleep in their tent in the garden that night. In view of the continued projectile vomiting we considered this to be a great idea and consented immediately.

Packed the kids off to go to sleep about 11 Pm and I settled down to watch the Wild Bunch - God I love that film, but, how is it that by the end you like these guys.

Off to bed around 4 am, another early night!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

May 21 Thursday 22 Friday 23 Saturday

Not a lot, must have really been tied because I've slept until mid afternoon every day so really done nothing. This is the problem with my shift pattern. You get into a routine of waiting to go back to work and doing nothing when you are off - particularly if it means spending money and you've made yourself feel guilty if you spend a fiver.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Wednesday 20 May - No More Windows, Steinbeck, What a Gay Day, Spending Public Money and Bye Bye Karina

Next doors windows are finished so the silence this morning was deafening.
Had to get to bed reasonably early because I’d got a school finance committee meeting to attend at 5:30.
Slept the sleep of the just, the justly dammed in my case if the Christians turn out to be right!
With commendable foresight I set an alarm on my N95 for 12:50 to wake me for the sale of an N82 on eBay due to end at 13:05. To plan, the alarm sounded at 12:50 exactly at which time I woke turned it off and went immediately back to sleep - of mice and men ah? . Incidentally I checked later on eBay and found that it sold for £105. They're coming down in price slowly but surely and I will make one my own!

I got up, around 4:30, went downstairs and began to chew happily on the succulent meat of four of the largest faggots it’s ever been my pleasure to behold. I’ve seen big ones before but these were simply enormous! A wonderful way to start the day but, and I have to admit this, I had to make a huge effort to force the last one down my throat, as the third one had filled me almost to bursting! Making the extra effort proved worthwhile however and soon my throat was filled with all that succulent meaty goodness. Mind you, it would be boorish of me not to mention that the mashed potatoes and gravy were delicious too.

Having successfully filled up on tubers, entrails and guts I prepared to go to school. Tonight’s finance meeting was important and we were going to have to decide on some serious matters. First, we had to decide what expenditures we were going to make out of our devolved capital funds. Eventually we agreed to spend £35,000 on the refurbishment of four of the older class rooms that were now in a state of some disrepair. This work will take place over the summer break and everything should be complete for the start of term.

The second issue was somewhat trickier, we had to make a policy decision concerning running a probable deficit budget for the coming school year. If we want to maintain current class sizes we are going to need to replace a teacher who is leaving at the end of term and, in addition, employ another. If we do this we will, on current figures, end up with a year end deficit of approximately £5,000. Whilst this is not a large sum, relative to the entire school budget, it would have to be funded out of the School’s carried forward contingency fund. If this pattern continued indefinitely we would eventually exhaust these funds. It wouldn’t happen over-night, we will be carrying forward at least £40K at the end of this year, but it would happen eventually. To avoid this we might be forced to accept larger class sizes and the resultant detrimental effects this would have successful pupil outcomes across the cohorts

Eventually we agreed to accept the deficit. The Head pointed out that the increased funds we will receive due to higher year 1 intakes over the next few years should easily absorb this shortfall in the future and that 2009/10 should, hopefully, be an anomalous year.

We were done for 6:20 and I started walking home, Donna’s car pulled up alongside and she offered me a lift home. She was out looking for her daughter S who had popped out for some milk and to see a friend and hour ago and who should have been home by now. S is in Nat’s class and is 11and I began to worry. We checked out the streets on the way back to my place but could see no sign of her. As we pulled up outside the house we spotted her playing with Nat and J and I think we both breathed a shared sigh of relief. S stayed to play with Nat and J while Donna when off to run a few errands.

Deb told me she had still been unable to access the Resort Condominiums International (RCI) Site. Sent yet another email requesting a password reset and updated user details!

I got ready for work, left early, on site for 8:05 only to discover that all the over-night teams’ desks had been hijacked by Out of Hours scum. After logging on I was able to cunningly lure a few away from our desks and secretly garrotted them. Unfortunately the majority remained ensconced and it wasn’t until Gail arrived with the team’s AK47 that we were able to clear out the rest of the nest. We’ll probably lay traps before we leave tomorrow morning, hopefully this will discourage them somewhat but I think we’ll find that, like all infestations, it’ll be an ongoing battle. We’ll probably end up running as fast as we can simply to stay where we are. However it turns out; I discovered that I enjoyed making the kills.

Tonight should have been Karina’s last, we’ve got her a card, but hopefully she may be in tomorrow, if so she can join our curry night and prove that she’s hot stuff; I hope so anyway!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Tuesday 19 May - Windows,Chicken Pox, Capt. Bertorelli, Bye Mr Speaker The World Today

The window installation continued today; who’s gonna be a tired boy tonight? I finally decided that I had to go to bed at about 11:30 when it seemed that there was no end in sight to the drilling and general hammering; out with the old windows yesterday and in with the new today. I tried to blank out the noise by playing podcasts at full volume through my new headphones. This was partially successful and I did fall asleep between the major drilling jobs. I had no hope of blocking these out, as the whole house shook, and I woke up every time they started. Things seemed to tail off at about 3:00 and I slept soundly until 3:35 when the kids returned home and proceeded to make even more noise. I managed to bury my head in the pillow and dozed until about 5:30 when I finally gave up and got up.

Chicken Pox: Han came home feeling very poorly and we are concerned that she may have picked up Chicken Pox which is doing the rounds at school (Josh, Han’s friend already has it). We thought that she'd already had a mild case of it a few years back but we could have been wrong. Hopefully she's just coming out in sympathy with Josh, if she has got it that will be wonderfully bad timing because it’s half term next week. Both Deb and I have booked the week off so that we could take the kids out and about and visit lots of places. Looks like it’ll be Deb and Nat on the road while daddy stays home with The Poorly Princess.

Captain Bertorelli
We are spending much of our time, this week, listening to Nat saying "What a mistake-a to make-a!" “Beautiful ladies a”, slapping his forehead and kissing every available hand. Why, because the school is putting on a modern version of Cinderella featuring characters from film and TV. One of these characters is the afore-mentioned Capt. B. I’ve been busy finding clips from Ello Ello (and any others featuring Italian caricatures) on YouTube for Nat to watch.

The Six O’clock News – What a To Do

Well, who would have believed it, Mr. Speaker has been forced to step down. This is quite incredible. I think almost everyone had come to the conclusion that Gobbles Mick(Michael Martin MP) was one of the worst Speakers that there has ever been (whether this opinion was justified is another matter, but it seems to have been widely shared) but I very much doubt that almost anyone, 12 months ago, could have conceived of the possibility that within the year he would be hounded out of office. To be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure why he has ended up carrying the can for the whole expenses debacle.

“Mr Martin's critics say he was the driving force behind repeated attempts by Commons authorities to block details of MPs' expenses from coming out under Freedom of Information legislation.”*

“But his supporters say he has long been the victim of snobbery and has been made a scapegoat for a scandal that has affected all the main parties.”*

In all events, it appears he has been sacrificed in order to try and make this story go away. I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon. There appears to be a widely held feeling amongst the general public that we’ve all been played like a good one and taken for a bunch of complete mugs. That’s a humiliating situation to find ones self in and it’s not the kind of thing that people forget quickly.
This story is going to run and run until the election and no one’s going to come out of it smelling of roses, in deed it’s far more likely that they’ll all come out smelling of the stuff you use to help them grow. The Telegraph may come to regret its exclusive expose, certainly, in the short term, it helped it move newspapers but it could well prove also to be a catalyst that triggers a process that leads too long lasting, far reaching and fundamentally damaging change, to the current political system, as a whole. During a time of severe worldwide economic crisis (no; it hasn’t gone away) and in the face of the long term environmental challenges facing the UK and the rest of the World it’s perhaps not the best idea to tear apart your existing political structures in an orgy of self-righteousness until you know that you definitely have something better to put in their place.

Any Suggestions…please? Let’s have a look at the Runner and Riders shall we:

Poor Old Gordon what can you say about him that hasn't already been said? The man has a mouth with a foot magnet in it. Ever since Tony handed him the poisoned chalice that has become his Premiership it’s been one disaster after another, to be fair some of the disasters weren’t even his fault! By now, I think, even he thinks that it would have been better for him if he’d gone down in the history books as, the Greatest Prime Minister Britain never had; that would seem preferable to the legacy he now looks likely to leave. His problem, it seems to me, is that all through his life he’s been told by all those around him that he’s cleverer than everyone else and it seems that he has, over time, bought into this idea big time. As a result it’s never his fault, he’s never wrong and he never needs to apologise: inevitable destruction follows such hubris. In a strange kind of way he has saved Tony Blair’s reputation; some people, it seems, are beginning, to look back on the Blair years nostalgically.

Gordon Brown (1951 - ) was born James Gordon Brown in Glasgow, the son of a Church of Scotland minister. He won a scholarship to Edinburgh University and subsequently worked as a college lecturer and television journalist and editor. He was elected as Labour MP for Dunfermline East in 1983, became Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in 1989 and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1992. After Labour's 1997 general election victory, Brown had control of the Treasury for ten years. In June 2007 he succeeded Tony Blair as Leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister.

Tory Boy Cameron - The Man of the People

With the Smug Certainty, that’s only available to those foetuses’ blessed with the uncanny ability to unerringly pick the richest parents, he reassures us that he’s really one of us, that he’s an “ordinary guy” Yes, one of us + 30 Million quid. He’s had a handicapped child, and, because of this, he appreciates the importance of the National Health Service in the lives of “ordinary” people; he empathises with their problems. Bollocks; he’s just another privileged Eton boy who understands the lives of “ordinary” people about as well as a Martian would. He’s lived an extraordinary life of privilege that few of us could dream of: I’m sorry, no matter how many times he tells us differently, I’ll never see this privileged son of the inbreed gentry as anything other than the more acceptable face of Harry Enfield’s Tory Boy.
David Cameron (1966 - ) was born in London and educated at Eton. He studied politics, philosophy and economics at Brasenose College, Oxford, graduating in 1988. He worked in the Conservative Party Research Department and acted as an adviser to the Chancellor and the Home Secretary. He was elected MP for Witney in Oxfordshire in 2001, became Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in 2003, Head of Policy Coordination in 2004 and Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Skills in 2005. In December 2005 he succeeded Michael Howard as Leader of the Opposition.

The BBC biography appears to have missed out the period of his life when he worked as a Bin man (sorry Refuse Disposal Officer) on a Council Estate in Peckham and lived in a one bedroom flat in Nelson Mandela House.

Nick Clegg - A Man of Principle?

On the face of it yes, after all you don’t choose to become a Lib Dem politician if you’re desperate to get your hands on the reins of power; but then again, why do you join a party that has absolutely no chance of gaining power if you genuinely want to make a difference and get public policy changed for the better? Is being a Lib Dem a safe way of achieving public standing without assuming the risks and perils that accompany the exercise of real power? Here, have your cake and eat it.

Nick Clegg (1967 - ) was born in Buckinghamshire, educated at Westminster School and studied anthropology at Cambridge University. He has worked as a journalist, university lecturer and EU aid and trade adviser, and was from 1999 to 2004 a Member of the European Parliament. In 2005, he was elected Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam and subsequently served as the party's spokesperson on both Foreign and Home Affairs, before becoming party leader in December 2007.
Another public school boy, but at least he’s had a real job – sort of!

Well, the next election might be the first in my lifetime where there’s an actual possibility that the Lib Dems might hold power so everything’s up for grabs. Can principle survive the day to day twatting it’s going to receive from reality? That’s the very question Barak Obama has to struggle with; it might be good idea to keep an eye on how he does.

That’s enough for tonight, my brain's hurting.


Monday 18 May - Slept Late Again (despite or because of next door's window replacement operatives?) First Time Kickboxing and Work

Got to bed in the early hours (05:30am) again, having once more stayed up watching recorded TV programs, messing about on the PC and trying to do some reading, I’ve been reading the same book for the last 2 weeks and it’s only 300 pages! I’ve lost the habit of sitting and reading, in part because of the distraction of the PC/TV and also because I’m trying to find time to listen to the backlog of podcasts I’ve accumulated.

Because I was due to start work again tonight I wasn’t concerned because it meant that I could sleep until the afternoon and be wide awake for work. What I didn’t know however, was that our neighbors were getting their front windows replaced today. So, I slept the sleep of the disturbed and by the end of it I very nearly was. No worry, I thought, they’ll be finished soon, no doubt, and I needn’t be up until around sixish. I’d forgotten that Nat was going to try a sampler at the new kickboxing club that been set up in the Church that’s on the junction of Upperton and Narborough roads tonight and that because Deb would have to take Han to cubs whilst he was there that I was going to go with him. We needed to be there for 6:15 (1 hour session) and that meant that there wouldn’t be time to eat when we came home so I have to be up so we could eat before. Got up when they got home and made the kids and myself bacon and egg sandwiches after which Deb made herself a chicken salad.

The kickboxing club was “well” impressive, it uses the hall behind the church and it was packed. There were at least 3 instructors at all times and they seemed on the ball. Everyone got individual attention and they managed to do a lot in an hour. Nat was soaked in sweat by the end and decided it was something he wanted to do. Han, who was there at the start, was desperate to join in to but, as I explained, if she did join now she would have to give up Cubs and I thought it would be better for her to wait for a couple of years until she was bigger and had moved up to scouts which didn’t clash. So that’s another children’s activity we’re committed to.

Home, changed, work...

Everyone, who’s taking part in it, finally received their “walking around the world” kits tonight, I’m quite jealous of them, especial the nice little rucksacks, but I couldn’t really take part given that I’m probably going to have to go into hospital before it’s over. Karina managed her 3 peaks challenge over the weekend ….well done that girl

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Sunday 17 May

I've made no notes to remind me of anything important that happened today so I can only conclude that nothing did. After Nat went to bed, following our marathon Babylon 5 fest it appears that I nodded off on the settee and remained asleep there until after Deb had come down in the morning. I know this to be the case because she later showed me the video she'd made of me snoring.

We had planned to go to the allotment in the morning to do a little work and pick some cabbages but the weather put paid to this idea. Eventually I gave in to tiredness and retreated to the bedroom for a few hours kip.

Woke about 1:30, to the smell of dinner cooking, and staggered downstairs after 5 minutes spent washing and spitting out blood. Han was in her room listening, yet again, to Stephen Fry reading one of the Harry Potter novels, Nat was downstairs with his face buried in his Warhammer 40,000 novel and Deb was in the kitchen finishing lunch.

I'll have to get back to you if I remember anything else about this memorable day.

Sat 18 May - Slept Late (bloodloss?), Eurovision, Babylon 5 … The Curve

As mentioned previously, Nat and I stayed up late watching TV. After he’d given up the ghost and gone to bed I spent some time on the PC. I’ve reinstalled Ubuntu again, this time I’ve completely done away with XP. I spent some time checking everything was working and installing a few applications to allow us to access existing files. Before I knew it was 4:00 in the morning and I needed some sleep. Perhaps because of this and loss of blood, I had spent the best part of the day spitting it out, I slept late and didn’t wake until mid afternoon.

We decided we would watch the Eurovision Song Contest that evening (1) to see if the UK got “nul points” again this year and (2) to see if Graham Norton was going to be funny. The answer, to both, it seems was no - we got points and he was occasionally bitchy but rarely funny.

In fact, I hate to say this, we quite enjoyed the whole thing, the songs have improved, the dancing, in some cases, was brilliant and the voting system seems to have been rescued from the extreme ethnic partiality exhibited last year. At first I didn’t understand the enthusiasm for the Norwegian entry but after listening to it again at the end I agree it is good. So good in fact that I’ve embedded it below; it’s OK theres not need to thank me!

Afterward, Deb and Han went to bed; Nat and I settled in for a Babylon 5 fest. We stayed up until the end of series 3, we were going to watch the 1st episode of series 4 but we couldn’t find the boxed set in Nat’s bedroom. I told him itb nwas messy, so that’s penciled in for next Saturday night.

I’d forgotten, after being unable to get them the previous day, we were finally able to get tickets for Jason and the Argonauts at the Curve on 26 June. Why would we want them? Nat’s in it and at the moment he’s in with a reasonable chance of being cast as Jason.

Friday 15 May - Dentist 2, End of SATs, Druckers, Bleeding Gums, Borders, Missed Meal

Went back late this morning and got a good gouging, perhaps my punishment for being away for so long. Whatever the reason I think I should have mentioned that I was supposed to be going out this evening, for a meal with the team, and that it would have been nice to sit at a table WITHOUT SPITTING UP BLOOD EVERY FEW MINUTES..

Deb and the Kids arrived home about 3:30, today was the last day of Nat's SATs so to celebrate Deb said we could all go to, either, Duckers’ or Border’s Starbucks to celebrate. It’s a good thing we grabbed a corner table at Duckers’ because otherwise I might have put a few people off their extortionately expensive cakes and coffee’s. Every time I sipped my coffee the heat caused my gums to bleed profusely and I had to spit it all out into a tissue.
I was supposed to be going out around 6:00 but it was beginning to look doubtful that I’d be able to make it. Hung on but eventually sent a text, to everyone whose number I had, explaining the situation and letting them know I wouldn’t be coming. Got a hilarious response back from Ash.

Now the decision had been taken we went from Duckers’ to WH Smiths and from there to Borders to have a look at the books and magazines. I purchased the second Pax Britannia Novel Nat got White Dwarf (which is the Warhammer magazine – it’s a game) and a Warhammer 40,000 Omnibus Novel whilst Han picked up a couple of 2 for 1 books from the kids section. Whilst we were there Deb went to Sainsbury’s. Re: The meal - I found out later that only 5 people had managed to make it to the meal and felt pretty bad that I’d had to let them down too.

Got home about 7:30 no one felt like a meal after the cakes we’d had so I made everyone sandwiches and we read our books. Finally put the box on about 9:00 and watched a bit of TV. Nat stayed down late, as we had promised he could, now that his SATs were over. Down recall what we watched so it must have been good!

Thursday 14 - Dentist Visit - The First and Nowt Else


Home, I couldn't go to sleep because I had a dental appointment at 9:50; the first in 16 months, I had to cancel one in Jan 2008 and by the time I remembered that I hadn’t got round to rebooking it I had been advised of the situation with my hips and so kept postponing it in order to avoid any chance of getting a pre-op infection. Now I’m healed and it’s at least 2 months before the next operation I can’t put it off any longer. My teeth have been hurting me for weeks and I’m spitting up large amounts of blood every time I wake up so I’m not optimistic that I’m going to get away scot-free from this one!No great surprises, I've got to have an extraction (wisdom tooth) and a filling and I’ve been booked in for 17 and 24 of June. I hope they do the extraction first as I’m pretty busy the next week – Governor’s meal on the 25th , Nat at the Curve Theatre in Jason and the Argonauts on the 26th and the University Open day on the 27th. He wants me back tomorrow to do some preparatory work. Don’t know what that’s going to involve, nothing too painful I hope!
After I left I thought about cycling to Iceland to spend my vouchers but my teeth were quite painful and so I thought SOD IT.
Home - on ma bike bed, up about 5:00 Not a lot else that day that I recall.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Thursday 14 May - Sats, Brockington, Skype, J, Dementia and Some Questionable Comments.

Home, Bye Deb, Bye Kids, breakfast beer, fell asleep through the great Jeremy K so I must have been knackered so I woke myself up in order to go upstairs to go back to sleep – you couldn’t make it up, you couldn’t you know.
Slept until approx 5pm. When I got up Nat was in his bedroom, playing computer games and winding down after today’s SATs
When I enquired he responded to the effect that he thought he’s kicked arse; time will tell but I wouldn’t be surprised, he knows he’ll get cash toward an X-box if he gets straight 5’s.
I told him that I’d been looking at the Brockington website the previous night and there was now a curriculum document there that I hadn’t seen before and after I’d taken a close look last night I reckoned he was going to love his new school. He took a look, for himself, and agreed that it did seem to be the bee’s knees.
For dinner we had, death by cholesterol, which consisted of, Beacon, Sausages, Tomatoes, and Fried Eggs and …….
After the paramedic had brought me back and ensured that I would survive long enough to reach work and qualify for additional death benefits he left. What a nice imaginary chap he was if the preceding sentence wasn’t total bollocks I’d owe him my life.
Donna rang Deb and thus began an amusing interlude, where we experimented with using Skype on our mobiles and our PC simultaneously. ”I’ve got your text but now you’re trying to call me as well at the same time”, “what text I can’t see a text oh there it is”, “ are you sending that from your phone or the PC”. This went on for awhile until Deb and Donna had both appeared to grasp how it worked and what not to do if you didn’t want to cut yourself off. Deb was still connected to the PC and my phone and I switched on the PC speakers. After this we got the giggles as we were both calling out and the phone was picking this up and then the same sounds were coming from the speakers a fraction of a second later. On a practical note it demonstrated just how incredibly fast modern communications are; I call out, the phone picks up the sound, uploads it to the internet, the Skype service then transfers Debs upload to my account which downloads it to my PC which converts it into sound via the output speakers, all this and I’m hearing the beginning of the sentence before I’ve finished speaking it!

While all this had been going on J, who’s in Year 6 with Nat and who lives a few streets away, called. He doesn’t normally hang out all that much with Nat, preferring the company of the “Football Kids”, but he was having something of a problem with a bully amongst them so he decided to call on us instead. He’s a really nice kid but he’s got a mild form of autism and it gets him to trouble with these kids because he often says inappropriate things and they’re too ignorant to understand why. Mind you, a 16 year old who bullies an 11 year old certainly has a few serious problems himself! As for J, as usual Nan proceeded to practically kick the crap out of him so perhaps he was no safer with us than he was with the bully; what is it with that girl, why does she always have to jump on every older boy she comes into contact with? It does not bode well!

7:45 PM To Work.
I left home around this time in order to be sure I could start early and be ready to take calls by 8:25. Deb, it seems, had other plans and when we reached the main road she proceeded to turn right instead of left and headed off in the wrong direction. Ever since her birthday I’ve been waiting for the first signs of dementia to appear and it seems that they have. Eventually, after a trip around the new housing estate, that’s been built on the site of the old Jones and Shipman complex , to find somewhere to turn round we set off in the right direction. We did arrive in time but it was a close thing!

We were scheduled to have a major team meeting this evening with Karina, the out of hours centre manager, in attendance. She’s a doll, we used to work together when I was first at BGS and she hasn’t changed. Power hasn’t gone to her head and she rarely uses her stun gun on any of the staff without good cause. Before we started, as an icebreaker, we were asked to each take a sheet of paper and write down our opinion of the team member on our right and then pass this sheet onto the person on our left and to continue to do so until the sheet of paper with our names on got to us. The idea being that everyone would have by then written a comment about everyone else. It’s not as easy as it seems without being very banal. When my sheet arrived in front of me I was, in the main part pleased with what people had had to say about me (see photo below). I was however, concerned with one comment and it’s the one I’ve circled; what do you think?
From Miscellaneous

Am I being Paranoid?

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Stupid Twits

Dyslexic Terror Alert - The Balsamic Condimentalists – Freebum Blighters – Beware: They're Moist Dangaling Extremities - write on my hoes.

You may randomly contort your facial muscles in a comically farcical but generally inoffensive way if you want; the lady’s, not for gurning.

Tuesday 12 May - School Governors Meeting

Well, tonight’s meeting was a little more boisterous than usual. The Head, John, was delayed, doing some last minute photocopying, so the meeting started late giving all a chance to exchange some banter. Everyone seemed pretty upbeat, the weather was gorgeous which might explain the mood, and finally the meeting got underway. We covered the usual topics but when we came to an item on the Heads Report the debate became a little more animated than is usual at a Governors meeting.

The gist of the matter concerned the number of Year 6 pupils (including my Son) who were transferring to Brockington College rather than to Winstanley School at the end of this academic year. Winstanley has, until now, been the school that the majority of pupils go to when they leave Millfield. Of the 50 pupils leaving, at the end of this year, 30 are going to Brockington. A debate ensured as to (1) the reasons for this change and (2) what the likely knock on effects would be if the trend continues, as it probably will.

You see, Brockington, which was always a good school, has recently been demolished, and like a phoenix from the ashes, a brand spanking new purpose built Church of England School with Specialist Technology Status has arisen in its place.It’s awesome, as our American friends might say, and poor old Winstanley just can’t compete. Winstanley is a lovely school, my kids go there to do Judo and Han still has her swimming lessons there on a Saturday. Unfortunately it‘s quite an old school and it’s reputation is for it’s sporting achievements rather than it’s academic ones. Brockington, on the other hand, looks a little like the Google campus and is so ITC orientated that I want to be 11 again. The worry was, of course, that Brockington would draw off the cream and as a result Winstanley would begin a gradual decline. The argument has merit; it’s the obvious corollary to allowing parental choice, parents no longer stay and fight to improve the school that their child had to attend, rather they vote with their feet. Unfortunately, for Winstanley, my first and foremost duty is toward my children and I believe that their long term interests will be better served by attending Brockington and subsequently moving on to Lutterworth College: it would appear that 60% of this years Year 6 parents have reached the same conclusion.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

English SATS - OK

Nat says that he feels that the english sats went OK and that he’s done OK cos the papers were OK. Hopefully he was more descriptive and used a wider vocabulary on these than he has done whilst telling me about them  OK. Children today are a bunch of monosyllabic ar*e-wipes OK.

So it looks like he’s done OK, OK.

Monday 11 May - Sats, Last Physio, a Testing Time and Poor Jane

Nat's Key Stage 2 SATS start today, first off it’s Science , the one they’re abolishing, so he’s not too worried about that one, after all he’s read and listened too Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything a number of times already.

When I spoke to him this afternoon, when he got home and I got up, he said he’d not had any great problems and thought he’d managed a five (top) mark (Henry – his enemy - is happily boosting that he thinks he’s managed a three – below average – and that his Mum is taking him to Borders to celebrate).

Tomorrow it’s English, Nat’s weakest subject, because his spelling and hand writing is as bad as mine. It’ll be such a shame if his marks are reduced because of this, after all he’s had a teenage reading age for the last couple of years and his comprehension is way ahead of his age as is his vocabulary – that’s not Daddy speaking that’s his teachers and his headmaster’s comments.

Finally, I’m off to see the physiotherapist for, what’s supposed to be, the last time. Appt for 7:00 so we set off at 6.20 which should be more than enough time to get there. When we reach the main turn-off for the Nuffield Hospital the road is blocked off by police cars and ambulances. Don’t know what was going on but now we only had 10 minutes to find our way to the hospital by another route. This is not a part of Leicester I’m familiar with and I’m afraid we’re gonna be late. Would you believe it: made it with 4 minutes to spare? Rushed in, told them I was there and then waited for 2 whole minutes before Gav the therapist came to collect me. The muscles in my right arm and shoulder seem to have recovered, they were strained whilst I was on crutches (double whammy) and whilst they can still be a little tender they are no longer causing me agony by the end of the night when I’m at work. Thank Gav and we’re away; once more we navigate by the seats of our pants and final get back on to the road we want. I’m gonna be early to work tonight. Deb and Nat, Han’s at cubs, drop me off around 7:50 so I’m 40 minutes early.

Tonight’s gonna be fun; Jenny, an in-day person who both of us have previously worked with, has nominated Ash and myself to be the Leicester end of a company wide systems test tonight. The email briefing document we’ve received makes absolutely no sense whatsoever so I’m not exactly sure what’s expected of us other than that the test is due to start at 9pm and schedule to run up until 3 am!

We signed on to the test at 9:00 and we were immediately immersed in a conference call which made little or no sense to either of us. I’m writing this at 00:44 and we’re still running the tests. From what I’ve been able to ascertain, we’re running a test to check on the systems ability to handle both data and voice transfers in real-time.

We’re now waiting for the testers to contact us again to complete the procedure; I’m listening in on them now trying to understand what if any conclusions they’ve reached and if the test has been a success. Just been told to fuck off it’s over 00:47.

01:00 hello public I love you, hey public it’s now 02:10 and I still haven’t received a call, do you no longer reciprocate my love? Hurrah, it’s not that bad, Ash has just mentioned that Jane logged onto an A Bank phone when we stole her phone earlier, we needed to be on line with the testers and simultaneously each separately logged on to another phone, so we needed a third phone. Jane’s was the only one in reach. Ash and I both plugged into her phone to connect to the testers and then logged onto the phones on our desks. Unfortunately, the phone she logged on to was an A bank phone, so very call that came through tried to connect to that bank first, so unless she was already on a call, she got the call. The same thing happened to me once, at least the night passed quickly. Ah, the penny has dropped; I think our holiday’s over!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Sunday 10 May - Bike Ride with Han

Again a late night so not up until after midday. Deb had gone to the allotment for a few hours and left the kids to their own devices. We ate dinner, roast pork, parsnips, cauliflower, roast potatoes and crackling followed by profiteroles and fresh cream, on the patio and afterward I suggested that we go for a cycle ride to burn off some of these calories. Only Han was up for it, Nat wanted to read the Warhammer 40,000 codices I'd downloaded for him and Deb went and hid in the attic until we gave up searching for her.

So off we went, under the underpass and down to the pathway that would take us to the canal. Weather wise it was a lovely day and so the canal and the surrounding areas were full of families, walking, cycling or walking their dogs or doing all of the above. We crossed packhorse bridge, joined the canal and headed towards town. As we left the canal near the sports field and headed off down the new nature trail. On our way we saw Brandon, who plays rugby with Nat and who lives nearby. When we got to the end of the trail we climbed the steps up to the Great Central Way and cycled further toward town. Han was beginning to get tied, even though I'm the one with the new hip and a duff one that still needs to be replaced, so we eventually stopped and started back. We didn't retrace our steps fully; we cut off the GCW and went down to the River Soar and followed this until we came out near Riverside School. We then cut through to Narbro Rd Sth and cycled home. I went back to bed for a couple of hours as I'm at work tonight.

I'm at work writing this, it's 05:34 and I finish in just under 2 hours.

Saturday 09 May - Not A Lot 2 Say 2 Day

Nothing very specific to say about today (or yesterday) that I can recall. I slept in because I've been staying up late the last few nights, trying to clear the backlog of TV programmes on the Virgin+ box, and I didn't go to bed until about 5am. I've managed to catch up on the 11 episodes of series 7 of 24 that I hadn't seen, I do like 24 but the body count is incredible, so far Jack Bauer alone has killed over 100 men and a few women too. I've deleted Robin Hood, just can't be arsed to watch it, and I've yet to watch Primeval which may go the same way. I've still got 3 episodes of QIXL which I'm saving for a special occasion. I also watched Red Dragon, the remark of Manhunter the first Hannibal Lector film, and don't understand why they did a remake. It's not bad but it's not better than the first version which was very good indeed. This remake was simply an excuse to get Anthony Hopkins to play Hannibal again and get bums on seats. As I say it's not a bad film just an unnecessary one.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

What A Pair of Posers –Featuring: Beautiful Babe and Butt Ugly Boy!



We’ve just received this years school photographers and haven’t we bred a pair of posers. Anyone would think that they thought that they were good looking whereas the rest of us know what a pair of butt ugly monsters* they really are. Well as long as no one tells them ah!

* accept for me signed Hannah

Wed 06 - Finally: Wolverine (not Wolvine as Das used to say), BlueBells and The Model

Finally we’ve been to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine and it wasn’t at all bad. As a long term fan of the X-Men (I bought all the related series from 79 – 01) I was a little concerned that they might make a hash of this film because, first Wolvie has such a huge back story and secondly because of the way they completely ruined Sabertooth in the first X-Men film. It didn’t happen, luckily, the film was pretty close to the origin story that had finally emerged in the comic books. They even managed to make Victor Creed (Sabertooth) the character he was supposed to be this time. Anyway, Nat and I enjoyed it and, in the end, that’s all that really matters. I’m suspicious of critics because everyone’s taste is different and I find I disagree with their opinions as often as I agree with them.

Re – Not Wolvine – 20 years ago, when we moved into the area where we live now, I got to know a group of the locals who used the nearby Pub. Amongst this group was a guy called Daz (a drug user of heroic proportions who never showed any ill effects from his excesses) who, like me, was a huge fan of the X-Men and of Wolverine in particular. The thing was he had never bothered to sound out the name and as a result always pronounced it as Wolvine. Daz has been dead for 20 years now, not from drugs (whilst completely sober he slipped going down a stair case, at a wedding, landed badly and broke his neck), but I can still hear him talking about Wolvine and it still makes me smile whenever I’m reminded of it.

After the film we stopped at Sainsbury’s to get some provisions (beer) and to see, for ourselves, the Bluebell Meadow nearby that we’d read about in the local magazine. As you can see, we weren’t disappointed; the field was covered in them. It was the first time I’d ever seen a bluebell meadow and I understand, now, why people rave about them.
Beautiful Bluebells

When we arrived home Han decided to put on “a show” and model the clothes that Dawn’s daughter had outgrown and that she had given to me for her. They were 12 yr olds clothes but nonetheless they all fitted her. Is she big for her age, I know that mentally she’s 8 going on 18?

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Let Me Tell U A Story, Homer, Wolverine, A Nokia N82 and my life in Literary Criticism

Apple loggies to the late Max Bygrave for the heading. I've just read a really enjoyable short story forwarded to me by Tor Books Called the Last Son of Tomorrow which involves the life story of an immortal superhero. I enjoyed the story very much and commented to that effect, but what impressed me most, was seeing how someone had managed to write a tale from now to the end of the Universe and put it in a short story. Every sentence was only as long as it needed to be, there wasn't any fluff. I can see why writers say that short stories are the hardest stories to write.

For Fun: Some of MY Favourite Videos

Nat and I are going to see X-Men Origins : Wolverine tomorrow using an Orange Wednesday 241 text (Deb's taking Han to see Hannah Montana the Movie - That'll teach you to be the Mother) so there's never going to be a better excuse than this to show the trailer below!

OH MY GOD, could it be possible? I've just seen a Nokia N82
on sale on eBay, currently only 2 bidders (mind there was only one an hour ago - shame), present price £62 auction ending 8:20 am today. This could be my chance to bag the phone I'm desperate to get my hands on. Nokia just cleared it's remaining stock of these for £199 a pop. This is basically the N95 in a candybar form and with a Xenon flash. Most people consider it to be the best camera phone Nokia has yet produced. There's even an N82 blog site on the net. If I can get a hold of this I can unlock it update the software and then install a 16Gigabyte memory card. Well, we'll know one way or another in 4 hours and 14 minutes from now.
*&%"%*&+)(*& DAMM, I've just got back from lunch and now (05:04am) there're 3 bidders and the price has gone up to £87. Bugger, when I first saw it I had hoped I was the only one, who the hell else is looking at eBay at this time of the morning? With 3 bidders we may have a war, however, I've just checked the bidding history and it looks like the jump to £87 is because bidder 3 set a max of £85 and someones tried to get above that. Maybe there's still hope, if I can get it for under a TON it'll still be a bargain.

Re: Last Son of Tomorrow. I've just returned to the site to see what other comments have been registered only to find that the authors responded and one of his responses is to my comment, he says:

VIEW ALL BY · Tuesday May 05, 2009 06:15pm EDT

First of all, thanks for all the comments. It's always gratifying when people care enough about something I wrote to talk about it, whether or not they liked it.

Lenny, I haven't read the JSA books, but I'll take a look for them next time I hit the comic book store. I *loved* those Alex Ross panels you linked to.

Mysickbones, I have faith that scientific thinking will come back around to support whatever cosmological theory best supports the story I want to tell. In other words, Big Crunch, Big Crunch na na na I can't hear you!

I just can't argue with that, I've already apologised as, of course, I should.

It went for 97GBP, I was so, so tempted but in the end I chickened out. Maybe, oneday.

Tuesday 5 May - Spagg Bol, Percy Gee and the Secret World of the Ladies Loo

Nat cooked dinner last night, Spagg Bol - a traditional family dish, and it was really nice. I'm sure it was in no way connected to my two desperate visits to the toilet when I arrived at work. Mind you, the second one had a very familiar odour. No Nat, it's OK it wasn't you, I'd woken up with a slightly gipppy tum. It was the evening of May Day Bank holiday when I started work and despite the time of year we were rushed off out feet because the rest of the business shut up shop at 9:00 PM leaving the 12 of us to cover the entire country. There were 35 calls in Que at one point and people were getting shirty about taking so long to get through. Through a process to involved to go in to, I some how ended up on The University of Leicester Homecoming 2009 web page. Shock Horror, their renovating the Percy Gee student union building this year and 27 June 2009 will be the last chance to see the old building and drink a pint in the Redfearn Bar. I must go, I spend many a happy hour (sorry) in the building and particularly in the bar it would be a shame not to drink there one last time. From spring 2009, an 18-month major refurbishment and extension project will transform the Percy Gee Building into a Students’ Union fit for the 21st Century, so says the Percy Gee Building appeal site, I've just taken a look at the modernisation plans and they do appear to be pretty spectacular.

It's an amazing building, as mentioned, on the wed page linked above, there are 35 separate levels most of which have never been seen by most students. I'm not most students, at one time I took a full tour of the building and I've seen all the unknown places. It's like some Medieval Castle full of secret passages and potential priest holes. During the tour I actually went inside a ladies public toilet, for the first and so far only time, and was amazed to find that the graffiti in there was more extensive and ruder than that found in the gents. Ladies why do you not share these skills with us mere males, I, for one, found you words moist (yes I do mean moist) enlightening and very very funny.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Horray, Horray It's Star Wars Day : May The 4th Be With You

I've been waiting, it seems an age, for today so that I could use this blog title. It's a little misleading really because I'm not exactly a huge fan of the series. I enjoyed the original film and the 2 sequels were OK, though I don't remember them that well. Re: the new films, I've seen No.1 and like most people I think that
Jar Jar Binks ruined it, mind you I'll tell you who really got on my tits in the first series:
I hated C3PO and still do, even now I pray for a new directors cut where the annoying little twat gets destroyed by the Sand People shortly after the start of the film. As for films 2 & 3 of the second series which was in fact the start of the saga - I've seen the first half of 2 and the second half of 3. I'm in no hurry to see the parts I've missed. To be honest, the most enjoyable things to come out of the whole SW franchise have been the Weird Al Yankovic spoof songs e.g.

The Saga Begins

Star Wars Cantina

Yoda lyrics

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Saturday 2 May - The Allotment and Orion of The New Gods?

Nat's away for the day with Jacob and his family, they've gone to Coombe Abbey Park (?) Hannah has ballet from 12 - 3 and needs to go to the hospital afterward to have her broken thumb redressed.

Deb and I decided that this would be a chance to get the parsnips planted in peace ( I ended up doing these until Deb joined me, I was bodging holes and filling them with fertilizer - my wrists are now killing me) so we went to the allotment after dropping Han off at ballet. Spent a couple of hours there then home about 2:00 so Deb could have a wash and change and I could go to bed - work tonight.

Didn't quite work out that way, I spent a few hours on the computer, I've just got the complete run of The New Gods comics and I couldn't resist having a look. Christ, I opened the first issue and as soon as I saw the cover:

it was as if, it was 1971 again, and I was back in Kyrenia in, what is now, the Republic of Northern Cyprus. The memory was stunning in its clarity. I could remember seeing it in the shop, I've just located it on google maps. It was just in front of the Dome Hotel, where we were staying. Here's a more recent photo of the Dome showing the view from the sea. The sea pool was located at the end the promontory attached to the hotel. It appears to have been developed. Previously there was just a stone bridge leading out to the rocks where the pool had been excavated.

I can recall buying it and almost running to the sea pool to read it, I'd been eagerly awaiting the series in the UK but wasn't sure I'd ever get my hands on a copy, supplies of US comics in small Welsh villages were very hit and miss in those days, as they probably still are. I’ve waited 38 years to read the complete series, it’s been published, cancelled, reprinted, cancelled, renamed, cancelled etc. The total number of comics, including reprints, is quite large totalling a hefty 5 Gigabytes.

Five years before Star Wars Kirby created the original Dark Side and named it Darkseid

I think the reason I like smart phones, like my N95, so much is that they remind me of the Mother Boxes that the New Gods carried. I remember thinking, a mother box, what a cool thing that would be to have.

Eventually went to bed around about 4:00, I’d also loaded photos onto a pen drive in order to see if the photo frame that Deb had received for her birthday was working OK. Couldn't’t get it to accept the first pen drive but it worked fine with the second. Now all we need to do is choose some better photos. Mind you I thought the picture of my newly replaced hip scar, staples and all, was quite fetching.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Friday 01 May - Awards Night at The Vipers

Up, Coffee, Toast, J.K. - laugh at the chavs, yes I too have a Darkseid (if you've alread read Saturdays blog that spelling will make sense, if you haven't how the hell did you get to here?). I think I watched some of the TV programmes I'd recorded, I know I've now final seen the last part of the History of Maths and I've deleted a ton of other stuff that I must also have watched but which haven't lodged in my memory... so they must have been good, I look forward to the repeats.

Eventually took Monty for a long walk, we're out tonight so lets try and leave him knacker and asleep.

15.38. Just got back we went all the way around the big field, which is quite a way, finally a chance to catch up with some of my huge backlog of podcasts. I trying to remember which ones I listened to, From Our Own Correspondent if I recall correctly. I need to make a habit of walking Monty as regularly as possible in order to get my right leg back to par before they slice and dice my left one and to try and clear the backlog of podcasts. The problem is that I play them when I go to bed and keep falling asleep part way through. As a result I keep playing PC's that I think I may have already listened to but which aren't familiar enough for me to be certain that I have, if that makes sense?

The kids were home just after me, we're going to the Rugby Awards tonight so I needed to get the fed and watered before deb came home from the hairdressers because we'd be leaving shortly afterward. So, soup and sandwiches it was.

6.15 we left for the Vipers, stopping at Sainsburys on the way to purchase a Euro Lotto Ticket, bollocks to the odds, if there's a chance of winning £89 Million I'm wasting £1.50. Surprisingly we were in it but we didn't win it. next week perhaps.

Got to the Vipers around 6:45 and it was already heaving. We managed to get some seats at a table with Jacobs Mum and Dad, Chris and Bruce, who are very nice people. After a little while the kids tired of staying on the balcony and went downstairs and out onto the pitch for an impromptu game of Rugby/Murder Ball. I watched from the balcony, whilst keeping an eye on Han, and was gob-smacked. Nat, the sloth, was shooting round the field, taking down anyone who that came near him and making good ground when he got the ball. Apparently, he told us later, it was because he was wearing trainers rather than boots.

The awards started and eventually it was the turn of the under 11's to receive theirs as can be seen below.

Downstairs for photos then home. Kids to bed, it was about 10:30 when we got back, a few beers and lets fall asleep on the sofa again. 5:40 to bed.

This is a test of Windows Live Writer and Some Thoughts Regarding Swine Flu.

I’m listening to this week. Steve Jones (Scientist not Actor) echoed my own thoughts regarding Swine Flu, as did Michael Portillo. The fact is. it doesn’t seem a big deal at present, when you look at the absolute numbers, but then again neither did AIDS when it first appeared. These things reach a tipping point when a certain number of infections have happened.

UK Government Flu Advice

In addition, this is just speculation on my part, how do we know that there aren't already 2 variants of this virus. One that's easy to catch and not to dangerous another that’s the opposite. I’m suggesting this because we have deaths in Mexico but at present those returning from there who display symptoms appear to recover, so far, from a fairly minor infection. You see 10,000 people, for example, in Mexico may have already had and recovered from the minor version but now we’re seeing the results of the more severe one but with a smaller affected population.

Here's a simulation of how a mutated virus emerges and spreads.

Only the influenza Type-A virus is capable of what is known as antigenic shift.
The current flu in circulation is an entirely new, mutated pathogen formed from elements of human, pig, and avian virus strains.
Overflowing with mutated viruses, the respiratory epithelial host cells of the pig eventually burst open and circulate the new flu virus into the susceptible human population.