Sunday, 31 October 2010

Rugby Training, Halloween, Monsters, Bad Weather,

Nat was off to the Vipers; only for training not to play a match. I stayed at home with Hannah as the weather wasn’t very nice and so poor Deb got to watch him by herself in the rain. She was probably in the club house nattering with the other parents.

I tried to get some sleep when they got home as it was work again in the evening.

It was Halloween and the kids and friends were going out Trick or Treating. The boys called round to our house and when I got out of bed I discovered a hoard of monsters downstairs.

The weather was dreadful and became worse after they’d left. I ended up answering the door and giving out treats as Deb somehow managed to be on the phone to her Mum for about an hour. We had run out of sweets just as the kids returned drenched through. I was due to leave for work shortly after and anticipated getting soaked but luckily the storm passed and the ride in wasn’t too bad.

Sunday 31 October 2010

Today I had rugby training where we had a game at the end but as we did not get much space the forwards and the backs had 2 different games but as there was 1 to many forwards when you scored a try you went over to the other team.
Later on in fact at night I went trick or treating it was fun we started of with me, Brandon, Jacob, Hannah and Zak and about half way though Jonathan joined us. We would have more sweets than we did if it hadn't pissed it down with rain.  

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Truth About God, Secrets of the Universe, Boring Day

Nothing that I can now recall other than discovering the secret of the universe and the truth about God. Aside from those two things it was a pretty boring day.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Nat's Birthday Party, 10 Boys: 1 Girl, Laser Quest, Party,


Laser quest party. arrived 5.15 with Nat and Han and checked everything was booked correctly, Nat and Han got their membership cards and we watched a group of little girls playing. Around 5:45 Nat's guests started turning up (List Here) and the too were signed up and given free membership. There was a briefing about the rules and the fighting area and what was and wasn’t allowed given bu a no-nonsense instructor and after this they were off for their first battle. Deb and I watched this on the TV screens in the recreation area.

After they had played three games, with varying teams, we held the party in one of the side rooms. Pizza or chicken nuggets and chips followed by birthday cake. Afterward parents arrived to pick up their various offspring then Deb drove me to work. Think everyone had a good time.

Nat's Guests were:

James Mee

I went into work afterward and continued to be manual

Friday 29 october 2010

Today was AWESOME!!!! It was awesome because it was enrichment day at school I took part in the tech challenge and got through the first stage I don't know if I got through the second phase. After school I had my Birthday Party which was great fun we played laser tag at this new place in Leicester called Laser Force. We played 3 games, got life time membership, Where given ether chicken nuggets or pizza both came with chips, an Ice poll and 2 drinks not bad for £12.50 per person. I won 2 out of 3 games and as it was my party I got £45, a box of sweets, A nerf gun ( OK I got this on Wednesday but it was meant for today), A air powered rocket thing, a book called selfish pigs and the Second space wolf omnibus plus I got a free membership card holder from the people who run the place as well as choosing the teams and being first in line to get the my drink and Ice poll. The people who came where Me, Jacob,  Jonathan, Michael, Brandon, James, Vinay, Hannah (my sister), Zak, Sam and Josh.  

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Meeting Mr Jordan, Hannah's Teacher, Good Report Doing Well, Overtime, PC Problems, Lisbon, Portugal, Nono Gomes, Nokia N8, Hasmukh's Phone,

Meeting with MR JORDAN about Hannah who’s doing just fine it seems;so wish w could say the same about her attitude at home! At school it seems she at or near the top in all her subjects, confident, fluent and popular. You’d never believe it from what she tells as school is like when she comes home; according to Hannah she has no friends and nobody likes her. This was reassuring news as we were concerned about her attitude to learning.

I went into work 2 hours early to do overtime but as soon as I starte my PC systems decided not to work properly and i sent the first hour on the phone top IT support. Spoke to a great guy in Lisbon (es in Portugal)Overtime Nono Gomes who was good fun. Unfortunately he was unable to fix the problem and wso I’d be working manually for at least four days until IT go it sorted; a good start to the week!

On the plus side, Hasmukh has received his new Nokia N8, what I’ll be buying (and fucking up it’ll turn out more of this when it happens)and I spent ost of the night playing with it.
It was gorgeous but I didn’t like to fiddle too much with someone else's phone especially not one as expensive as that.

Thursday 28 October 2010

 Today was normal at school except that I had Rugby after school. We split the team in 2 and had a game My team won, we won because I would smash through them then I would turn round and give one of the backs the ball we would then get it out to the wing and score!!! After school I had judo I had to come of at the end as I injured my knee it hurt a lot an awful lot.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

PC, Twitter, Booze, Civilisation, Boxing, 10 year old Girl sparring, nerf gun, scouts, Jacob

Again the day passed with me at home mostly on the PC tweeting and drinking beer, civilization you gotta love it. Nat had boxing this evening, before scouts; apparently he had thee sparring matches, one of which was against a Ten Year Old Girl,(it seems she wanted to fight him)all of which he won by applying the berserker within The 10 year old was stopped after 10 seconds apparently when he floored her.

Later in the evening when at Scouts Jacob gave him his birthday present which was a double barreled Nerf gun.

Wednesday 27 October

Today was pretty normal at school but After school I went to Boxing and Spared, I spared with one boy twice and went bezuker I punched and punched and just did not stop punching I also had a fight with a girl (just one note she asked to fight me) but it was called of in the first 10 seconds as I almost pushed her over!!! At scouts we had to make a camp gadget and ours was fine until One wanker in my patrol destroid it but on a lighter note Jacob gave me my birthday present a nerf shot gun. So you better watch out!!!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Ghostly Visitation, JFK, John Wayne, Bullshit, Medium Rare, Pun

Cannot recall anything of any consequence that happened today. Certainly nothing happened to me other than being contacted by the spirit of former US President JFK who gave me the lowdown on who was really behind his assassination...John Wayne, who’d have thought it!Neither Deb or the kids mentioned anything so that’s it for this uneventful day.
I don't experience these visions often; they're much like the way I like my steaks...Medium Rare!!!

Tuesday 26 October : Lego Challenge, No Rugby,

Mum dropped me of at school today because I thought I had rugby I DID NOT as I learned later. Anyway at lunch I went in to miss Lewis's room and there where several massive boxes in there I asked what they where for and she said "They are for the Lego challenge and one of them is for your team!!!!" So I am in the FFL (First Lego League) so hurray for me!!!"

Monday, 25 October 2010

Twitter, Overtime Request, Spooks

Nothing much happened today, it’s still one of my of days but Deb was back to work and the kids were back to school so I spent most of the day on the PC doing not a lot. Spent some time on Twitter, started uploading holiday photos and videos. Not much else. I received a call from Sarah, senior manager at work, at about 18:00 asking me if I could come in this evening to do overtime because they were exceedingly short staffed. Normally I‘d jump at the chance but I’d had a few beers during the day, it was peeing down with rain and so I didn’t fancy cycling with that combination. Taped yet another episode of Spooks, I must start watching them before the recorders full.

Monday 25 October

First day back at school after half term it was a pretty normal day except that I was frozen solid it was so cold this morning, and after school I went to Brandon's had dinner and played a game of 40K. I got back home at about 8-9 pm when I got home I watched the Gadget show and wrote this.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Back at Home, Vipers, Playing Hinckley, Defeated, Neil's Rant, Training Times, Bruce and Zak's Dad

There’s no rest for the wicked; we’re no sooner home from Cornwall than we’re off to see Nat play rugby for Leicester Vipers against Hinckley.

Oh dear such a shame, after lots of time together the Vipers pack have really got their act together and can hold their own against anyone, Nat’s the hooker, but unfortunately the backs are suffering from a two edged blow. A number of the experienced players have either left or are out with injuries and there are a lot of newbies who’ve never played rugby before. Against a well trained experienced team like Hinckley the Viper didn't stand a chance. Whenever the pack won the ball the backs lost it and then Hinckley would storm through them to score another try. It’s best to draw a veil over the final score!

On a note closer to home, Nat continues to suffer from an injury (we thought it was a pulled tendon later turned out to be a bruised kneecap)to his leg and it’s causing him a lot of pain.

Poor Deb she really caught the brunt of Neil’s (he’s the Vipers trainer) frustration with the teams performance when he turned on her and accused Nat of being par f the problem because he can’t come to training on a Wednesday. Deb doesn’t take that kind of shit from anyone and point out that as we’ve explained before, repeatedly, if the training session was was held just one hour earlier he’d be there every week come rain or shine but as it stands it’s training or Scouts and Scouts comes first with him every time. Don’t recall anything of any great import during the rest of the day other than Nat’s friend Zak has now started playing for the Vipers and his Dad and he had got a lift to the game with Jacob’s Dad Bruce. We all ended up chatting and like Bruce he seems to be a very nice guy. Next time I must find out his name, I never ever remember to ask people their names!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Cornwall Holiday : Saturday 23 Oct : Last Morning, Car Breakdown, RAC, No N8?, Travelling Home, Atlantic Village Shopping, Amazing Stalls, Rainbow

Morning time to go, checked all the rooms, packed away the toiletries, prepared a small breakfast and ready to go by 9;00 until disaster struck. Deb came to say that she couldn’t get the car to start and she thought the electrics in the boot had shorted out again. Bang went any idea of an early start and Deb went to reception to ring the RAC while I sorted out the kids etc. Deb returned to say the RAC had said they’d be about 45 minutes. They turned up sooner and the mechanic was there at about 09:25. Deb was concerned we would need to get the electrics replaced and it seemed like the extra money I’d earned to get a Nokia N8 might be disappearing into the black hole that is keeping a car on the road. What a fantastic end to our holiday; I was so pissed off at the prospect that I immediately got reception to send round two peasants who I then ritually disemboweled to relieve my frustrations. The RAC man eventually got the car running and confirmed the problem was with the electrics but that the problem was due to them getting wet during the torrential downpour over night. He was hopeful that everything would dry out as we drove and I, for one, kept my fingers crossed that he would be proved correct. Eventually we were sorted and we left the Estate at around 10:00 an hour later than we had planned to.

This wasn’t too much of a delay and it looked as if we could keep to Deb’s journey home plan. She wanted to drive up the west coast parallel to the Celtic Sea passed New Quay and Wadebridge up into Devon eventually arriving at the Atlantic Shopping Village located near the town of Bude.

As we began our journey the weather also began to improve and within an hour it was quite sunny, the clouds had lifted and when we were in sight of it we were able to appreciate the coastline as it passed by on our left.

In the car I kept attempting to get a GPS fix ion both the N82 and the N95 but still wasn’t able to do so. The best I could get, when there was a cellular signal was an approximate position on Google Maps based on the nearest cell tower’s location (note the following day at the Vipers Rugby Ground I got a GPS lock on in less than one minute so the phones were OK).

We arrived at Atlantic Village around mid-day and after discovering the location of and making use of the toilets we went inside. It was a bog standard enclosed shopping mall but with one notable exception. In all of the walk ways, between the shops, there were stalls set up selling local products. Pasty stalls (Devon not Cornish pasties there’s a fearsome rivalry), stalls for local cider and beer producers, exotic cheese stalls, home made soups etc. I’d never seen it’s like and the stalls were fascinating. I sampled pumpkin soup, venison stew, another even nicer stew I can’t recall the name of, samples of cheese and so on. Yes we did go in the actual stores and we did buy some things but the stalls were by far the most interesting thing about the entire place. I managed to get the book of the TV series Geniuses of Britain for £3.99 instead of £20.00. We got some end of line/seconds from the M&S outlet for the kids and me, sweets to take to work, it never happened they all got given away to trick or treat callers on Halloween; however it’s the thought that counts. The giveaways were clever sales tricks; just like at the Cyder farm we ended up spending a fortune of the things we’d tried.

We stayed at Atlantic Village for about two hours before setting off again on the long, by UK standards, trek up through the West Country and back over to the East Midlands. The only notable thing that happened during the rest of our trip was spotting, possibly, the most beautiful fully formed rainbow it’s ever been my fortune to observe. Magnificent, I managed to grab a few photos and a few seconds of film but these don’t do it justice. There weather fluctuated greatly for the rest of the journey from heavy rain to sunny skies. Eventually we made it safely home at about 18:00. Don’t think we did much else so that was…


Friday, 22 October 2010

Day 7 Friday 22/10 Cyder Farm, New Quay, Perranporth, Shag, Pasties, St Agnes, Beach, Caves, Mussels, Lost, Tin Mine, Underwater Challenge, American Buffet, Longest Pool Game, Bingo

Today was effectively the last day of our holiday. We’re motoring home and planning a stop on the way tomorrow but today is really the last hurrah. We didn‘t have a clear plan of action, other than a visit to Healy’s Cyder Farm where the previously mentioned Rattler

cider is fermented, I don’t think brewed is the correct term for cider making. We headed for Healy’s first and were there before lunchtime. I was surprised when everything, including the tasting, was free, I’d had gotten acclimatised by now to paying through the nose for everything, but soon discerned their cunning plan. “Yes thank you I would like to try a free taste of…” Subsequently spent £30 on buying bottles of my free tastes…sneaky Healy’s very very sneaky. The matured ciders which are bottled are treated as wines and were outstanding; we bought a bottle to have with our Christmas dinner this year. (photo of cyder buys here)

Leaving the cyder farm we headed, along the coast road, toward New Quay. We weren’t planning a long visit just a quick drive through to see what it was like. Before going into the town itself we stopped at the end of the coast road, parked up and walked a little way up a hill to get a good view of the bay. It was spectacular as the town, unlike many others, sits above the sea on the cliff tops. This probably explains why it has such a reputation for “Tomb Stoning” where drunken men, usually but not always drunken young men, leap from these cliffs and into the sea below; a significant number are killed or find they’ve joined the “in a wheelchair for life” club. It’s a very popular spot for teenagers from all over the country who’ve just finished their exams. Teenagers, Cliffs and Booze a recipe made in Hell.

We never did manage to make it down to the cliffs as New Quay has an incredibly maze like system of roads. We ended up going round in circles and eventually gave up and abandoned this plan. Even then we weren’t in the clear and we still managed to end up dead ended twice more before we got clear of the place. The Town’s slogan should be: “Visit New Quay You’ll Never Want  Be Able to Leave”.

As we made our way down the coast our first port of call was a little town called Perranporth. It was so “touristy” but in a nice way. I bought myself a back scratcher, was offered “A Shag for a Tenner”, inspected the local off license stock of Cornish beers and ciders and ate the tastiest pasty of the whole holiday. We’d park in the road as we refused to pay £3.50 for a hours parking so we were on the clock. We walked down to the beach while eating said pasties before returning to the car. Deb and I both agreed that the next time we visit it might be nice if we could get into a Time-Share nearby.

After this we drove onto St. Agnes then through and down to the bay. Christ I’d liked to have lived there; (INSERT PHOTOS) it was beautiful and, additionally, if you liked mussels you could eat for free because the rocks along the shore line were in-crusted with the little buggers!

While I scouted out a vantage point from which to take photos the other went onto the beach and soon they were little more than dots in the distance. Eventually I did make my way down and joined them there. Nat decided to content himself with drawing in the sand but as usual Hannah was irresistibly drawn to the sea and its accompanying wetness.

After Hannah had played chase with the waves enough we crossed the beach to take a look at the caves in the cliff face. Nat and Hannah, of course, had to climb up into them and got wetter still.

After a little while we made our way back to the car and moved on. Yet again we got lost and it took a while to get our bearings back; still no GPS signal, Damn You To Hell You Cyder Witches! Eventually we were back on track and headed for home. On the way we stopped to look at a tin mine steam engine at a national trust site but lacked sufficient funds to take a trip around the full site.

Back at the Coach House we grabbed our swimming gear and headed for the pool for one last swim. While there I challenged the kids to try to swim the length of the pool underwater; the both succeeded to do so. We left the pool and went back to our rooms for a little while before returning to the main complex to experience the American Hot Buffet evening. Food was great but the kids tried to pile too much food, at one go, onto their plates and ended up unnecessarily wasting some. The homemade burgers were particularly heroic; thick, juicy and very very tasty.

Anyone who’d wanted to play a game of pool was in for a long wait that evening because Nat and Hannah got to the table first and played what must rank as one of the longest games ever. After we’d finished we returned again to our rooms but not for long. There was going to be bingo in the bar at nine so, leaving
Deb at home, the kids and I went back to play. We’d only enough money left to play the first game. We didn’t win and so returned to Deb shortly afterward.

After that it was a question of getting the packing finished so we could get an early start the next morning. That night there was a torrential rain storm that put an end to our planned early start! However we weren’t to know and eventually the majority of the packing was done and only morning essentials were left out. Deb and the kids went to bed but I stayed up to watch the TV and do a little reading. I think I fell asleep on the sofa as I don’t recall going to bed. I did go out a few times to take a look at the storm. The rain was bucketing down if you put your head out passed the door frame you’d be soaked in a second.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

THURSDAY 21/10 The Lizard, Mullion, Holiday Camp, Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose or HMS Seahawk, Toffe Apples, Rattler, Portreath, Fish and Chips, Quiz, Lolly Pops

This morning we’re off to see a few of the places we visited the last time we were down this way. Specifically, we’re visiting the Lizard the most southerly point on the mainland of Britain. It’s a spectacular place with incredible views as can be seen from the embedded pictures below. The lighthouse museum was unfortunately closed but we did get to take a stroll round the grounds of the Youth Hostel located next to it.

After leaving the Lizard we stopped at the cafe / base shop located next to Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose or HMS Seahawk as it’s also known. While we were there we discovered that there was a coach trip around the base that afternoon so we bought tickets for it. The trip wasn’t due to begin until 2PM so we had a little time to kill. We had stayed at Mullion Holiday camp the last time we were here and as this wasn’t far we decided to drop in there to see if Hannah and Nat remembered it. Our visit was a quick in and out (but with Gusto, me old Droog mates, with Gusto), Deb stayed in the car the lazy cow, and yes even Hannah remembered coming here. I say even Hannah because when ever you reminder her of something she’s done in the past she gives you blank look combined with another look that suggests that you are deluded and that she’ never been to any such place. There wasn’t time to drive down to Mullion village itself which was a shame as I remember the harbour and beach as being particularly lovely.

On our way back to Culdrose we stopped at a small cafe where Hannah had sausage and chips (absolutely delicious locally produced sausages) Deb and Nat each had a cream tea and I had a pint of Rattler cyder (yes that’s how they spell cider).

We were finished and back at Culdrose just in time; a few minutes after we arrived we were allowed to pass the armed guards (they had real guns!) and enter the base and board the coach. The tip was “awesome” some might say but with typical British understatement I’d simple describe it as “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.

We saw some amazing sites and the photos and videos, taken through the coach windows, don’t really them justice. Jets, helicopters, and turboprops the list just goes on. We must have seen a dozen or more take-offs and landings whilst we were there.

We disembarked twice, once to visit the tiny base cinema to watch two films, one about the Royal Navy in general and the other specifically about Culdrose. Here we also saw some of the classrooms where Royal Navy and overseas trainees lean how to service and maintain the fleet of aircraft based there. Our second port of call was at a maintenance hanger to view a stripped down SeaKing helicopter, the model that had just been phased out and replaced by the Merlin. The tour, which seemed to fly by, actually lasted the best part of two hours and was worth every penny we spent to go on it. The guide was so enthusiastic and such a supporter of the base and its role in local life. She was the lady we’d first spoken to earlier in the cafe who persuaded us to book the trip in the first place. If you’re ever in the area and get the opportunity to do this trip then jump at the chance, you won’t regret it.

By now it was late afternoon and we started back toward Clowdance Estate; on the way we stopped at Sainsburys where I bough some beer, provisions, toffee apples or the kids but no Rattler Pear Cyder. I only mention Pear Rattler here because Sainsbury’s price was the lowest we’d seen (£1.95 compared to £2.50 elsewhere) and so instead of buying a load at the cyder farm we intended to buy it, and ordinary Rattler, from here...we forgot so I came home with only the two bottles of pear and two of beery we bought at the cyder farm and no bottles of normal Rattler, None, Zilch, Sod All...Bugger!

After this we drove into Portreath, where the kids had soaked themselves the previous Sunday, and bought Fish and Chips from the chip shop on the seafront. Given the price we paid for these I was very disappointed in the size of the portions. When we had finished we completed the drive back to Clowdance Estate and had a few hours rest.

Later we sent an hour or so in he pool and sauna before attending the quiz night being held in the bar at 9:00 PM. Teams were supposed to be limited to four people but a couple of tables were obviously collaborating and effectively fielding a team of eight. Our team consisted of the four of us and while we didn’t win a single individual round we did come within three points of the best overall total score! Not bad for just two adults and two kids and, in fact, if we hadn’t changed three of my answers we would have actually tied for first place with forty eight points each. However I mustn’t forget to mention that despite the fact that our team didn’t win anything that both Nat and Hannah did manage to each, individually, win a lolly pop. Hannah won hers for shouting out the correct answer to the first question of the night and Nat for the stupidest team name. We were, officially the Clotted Dreams but according to Nat we were AKA. . . The

Afterward we left and returned to our rooms and sleep...night all! At this point if I were writing my normal blog I’d note tat I was only a few words short of a thousand words and then waffle on until I passed that milestone but there’s now no need for me to do so or at least there won’t be any need after a few words more.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Wed 20 Oct - Cornwall - The Eden Project

We were up at a reasonable time for the first time this holiday and were planning on visiting the Eden Project if it wasn’t too expensive. We have visited there once before when we stayed in Dorset in October 2001. We diverted to Cornwell on our way home on the last day but both Nat and Hannah were far too young to remember. It would be interesting to see how it had changed over the last ten years. Originally you could still make out much of the original clay quarry and of course the plantings, both in the domes and outside, were in their infancies.

We’d just passed the infamous, see previous entry, “out of stock” Tesco’s when we passed a girl whose hair was holding up her boobs. I can’t remember exactly what she’d done, as there was hardly time to take a photo, but it must have been unusual for me to note it in my phones holiday diary notes; shit, this will bother me for months now!

We were soon passing through the outskirts of Truro having already passed Truro College which impressed Nat greatly. He’s thinking of moving to it so that he can go surfing. Truro, which is the county town of Cornwall, what little we saw of it appeared to be very pretty and boasted an enormous; at least it looked enormous to us, Cathedral. We weren’t able to visit this time round, by the time we were passing it on our way back it was rush hour and Deb was too tired to attempt to drive through an unfamiliar town in such traffic conditions. On passed St. Austell the north to eventually arrive outside the Eden Project. We parked up and caught the shuttle bus to the entrance; yes it’s that big and that busy that the car parks require shuttle buses, you don’t even get shuttle buses at the NEC and that’s f**king gigantic! Shuttle Buses I Weres Gobsmacked Big Time My Mens! (Yes I know that sentence is WRONG).

The Eden Project is an astonishing project that consists, in the main, of two gigantic geodesic domes, one housing an Equatorial Forest, the other a more Semi- Tropical / Mediterranean climate. Outside of these there are extensive ground full of plants, features, other buildings and all sorts of peculiarities. All these “item”, including the domes, are located on the floor of this former clay pit (!) and are reached via ramps, steps, elevator or road train.

We paid for a family ticket, £50 but free to return anytime during the following 12 months, and made our way out onto the viewing platform. From here we walked down the ramp to the quarry floor. This seems a reasonable enough point at which to embed the photos…enjoy!

The first thing you notice, aside from the domes of course, as you descend to the quarry floor is a giant robotic statue that bears kind of a resemblance to a Man/Dinosaur/Doctor Who Monster. This statue/construct, known as WEE, is made up of the total amount of electronic waste the average UK citizen will discard during their lifetime. It’s bleeding enormous and certainly makes you consider our throw away, built in obsolescence, lifestyle (yes I’m as guilty as everyone else in my pursuit of the perfect mobile phone). I wouldn’t be quite so bad if much of this stuff was recycled but I’m sure that most of us are well aware that, at least until recently, the majority of it ends up corroding away to uselessness in the numerous landfills up and down this country.

When we got given out tickets the kids also each received a treasure map filled with clues that they had to identify as they made their way around the project. Nat showed little interest in his but Hannah, with Deb’s help, assiduously searched them out and, I believe found most if not all of them…well done that soon to be sulky little girl!

We made our way around the outside of the project before entering the domes themselves; as you can see from the photos above (which I may or may not have yet got round to individually labelling) there was an awful lot to see and do. Hannah managed at some point to take umbrage about something, I’ve given up asking, and I discovered the free Wi-Fi network and managed to upload an AudioBoo (a spoken blog entry) to Twitter and Facebook while I was negotiating my way round the outer perimeter…wow!

With Hannah alternately stalking off and coming back I found I spent most of the time going round with Nat who, unlike Deb and Hannah, would wait for me when I stopped to take yet another photo. Eventually we’d seen most of what there was to see outside and finally we entered the main building that accessed the domes. Before doing anything else we went into the cafeteria to get something to eat. We had pasties, chips and drinks. I had another rattler!

Finally, we logged our tickets, so that they were verified and our year long passes were secured, we bought additional tickets to visit the overhead canopy, Deb bought some bottles of water, thank God, and then, all this done, we entered the Jungle. At first the heat and humidity weren’t too noticeable and to be honest all through the visit the heat wasn’t the main problem. As we ascended to the top of the dome the humidity built up and we started sweating copiously. The equatorial zone didn’t seem greatly different from our last visit; I imaging that the plants grow so quickly in these conditions that they are constantly having to be cut back so the growth we’d seen the first time was little different to what we saw now. Eventually we reached the top, having taken numerous photos and videos on the way and having stopped to be rained on and listen to the thunder. We halted at the entrance to the above the canopy experience and waited to be advised of when we could experience this. We weren’t kept waiting long, about ten minutes, but we were very near the top and the humidity was pressing. My top was utterly drenched with sweat and it felt as if I’d worn it under a shower. It was going to get wetter and then colder!

At last, it was time to ascend to the walk up which led to the platform suspended above the canopy. The walk up was rather unpleasant; we were walking a walkway suspended by wires that swayed whilst you walked. Added to this it was made of perforated metal so if you looked at the steps, as you approached them, you’d become disorientated by the view of the jungle you could see through the gaps. The best strategy was to gaze upward toward the roof of the dome as you ascended. The platform itself was even more wobbly than the walkway and Hannah really didn’t like it and wasn’t able to stay up for very long. Certainly if you weren’t careful and if you suffered at all from vertigo you could get very dizzy very quickly.

All that said, the view was spectacular and if you can stand the humidity combined with the wobbliness, your vertigo isn’t too bad and you can afford it then I’d recommend you spend that money and enjoy the experience!

By the time we were back down to the normal top of the dome our clothes were literally stuck to us; worse still as we descended the temperature dropped and our clothes cooled rapidly. By the time we reached bottom we were both soaked and chilled. This made the Mediterranean Dome a much less pleasant experience than it should have been! Advice do the Mediterranean Dome First!

Anyway, we made our way down to the entrance, stopping to try, what I at least thought, was a rather delicious fruit cocktail. Then stopping to drink these in the bamboo hut and play chess on the bamboo chess board using the bamboo chess men. I won, I bamboozled them…bam bam!

Out of Africa, kind of, and into the cold October weather; we hurried across to the Med dome hoping to stay warm and dry off. This proved that what I said above was correct, visit this dome first. We wandered around in this temperate climate shivering but gradually warmed. The major inhibitor was that our clothes were now both soaked and cold.

I snapped and filmed as we made our way round and at one point Nat and I, yes Hannah was once more off with Mum, made a film about spotting wild Harley Davidson motorcycles living wild in the wild! While we wandered I’m sure I spotted climbers swinging from the dome structure and later I discovered that in fact you could come here to learn certain techniques.

After we’d seen everything we left the domes and began to make our way back to the main entrance. We went via a final building that housed a number of odd displays, see photos, and I’m not entirely sure what it was all about. Deb later told me she felt the same way.

We took the lift up to the top, stopped long enough for Nat and Han to bash out a few tunes on the recycled oil drum percussion set, crossed the bridge and finally discovered and perused the enormous gift shop located by the main exit. After some time spent here we returned to the shuttle bus that dropped us off at our car park and we drove home.

It was a shame we couldn’t stop at Truro so we’ll have to do so next time we’re in Cornwall. Eventually, we arrived back at Cowenden. During one of those odd times when there was a mobile signal I received a tweet from , among others, Stephen Fry advising all that he’d had been cast as Sherlock Holmes’ cleverer brother Mycroft in the currently filming sequel to Guy Richie’s movie, which, coincidently, was the one we’d watched last night…Spooky!

We had a “ploughman’s lunch” for tea, went swimming and finally to bed at the end of a long and fun day.


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Tuesday 18 October - St Ives

We were up late yet again, the holiday would be over before we knew if this kept up, and yet again Deb and I were at each other’s throats. She’s got the stereotypical ladies excuse whereas with me it’s because, at the moment, I’ve got very short tempered with Hannah, she keeps lying and being rude, and if I tell her off for being naughty and when Deb automatically leaps to her defence regardless of what she’s done I get really angry with her. So we left to visit St. Ives with an undercurrent of hostility present. To be honest I really didn’t want anything to do with anyone so I kept myself to myself and took lots of photos. Things didn’t really change until after we’d arrived at St Ives and spent some there.

Anyway, back to the journey, we drove indirectly (On our why to Lelant Saltings Deb took a wrong turn and for a while we were headed in the opposite direction. When we realised our mistake and headed towards Penzance and St.Michael's Mount before turning north back toward Lelant Saltings) to Lelant Salting railway station with he intention of parking the car there and taking the train into St Ives. We’d chosen to do this for two reasons, first, we were told the rail route allowed you to glimpse spectacular scenery that you would otherwise miss and that, secondly, parking in St Ives was a nightmare! Both points were correct, the railway journey took us passed absolutely stunning beaches and headlands AND WHEN WE WERE WALKING THROUGH ST IVES IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT THERE REALLY WAS NO PARKING! Initially, the weather that morning had been disappointing, drizzling and overcast. Luckily, by the time we got into St.Ives, all this had changed and the day became almost summary. I heard that artists move to St.Ives and the surrounds because they considered that here was found the best natural light in Britain. I’d dismissed this as artistic bollocks and an excuse to live in the sunniest part of the UK but I have to admit I was the ignorant peasant. The light is unbelievable, all of West Cornwall seemed to be lit differently from everywhere else, everything seemed brighter and sharper, but St Ives was a revelation...I stand corrected a real man can admit when he’s wrong, its just wilful little nine year old girls who can’t, can they Hannah?

Anyway the train ride proved to be as lovely as we’d been told it was and a little while later we pulled into St Ives Station, which itself is blessed with a view of a beautiful bay situated directly below it, from there we walked to the top of the town - after that it was ALL downhill, and, indeed, a very steep hill it was!

St. Ives is gorgeous, one of those places that you immediately fall in love with and want to move into without delay. I think we were all captivated by it, certainly, I know I was; I couldn’t stop taking photos and videoing almost everything I saw. The Harbour is captivating and I walked its entire length while Deb and the Kids sat on their arses at the land end.

As I’ve already mentioned everything that’s claimed for the natural light in St. Ives is true and it’s true in spades. Absolutely everything you looked at seemed sharper and more in focus than anywhere else I’ve ever visited. It reminded me of the light on the Greek island of Zakynthos where all the blues are that spectacular multicoloured sea is translucent. Certainly I’ve never seen so many artists and art shops in one place before and don’ forget they’ve got their own Tate gallery! Unfortunately the Tate here is far too expensive to actually enter so that’s all that you’ll learn about it in this blog! This seems as good a place to place the photographs as anywhere:

After we’d completed our first tour of the town and taken in a sea front gallery, lovely lovely paintings by the way, the air of hostility, mentioned earlier, had dissipate and we decided to stop for lunch in a sea front pub where we had whitebait (Deb and me), 2 bowls of cheesy chips (1 for Hannah 1 to share), vegetable soup (Nat) and a pint of rattler (Me). Nice food, nice pub but, like everywhere in Cornwall, bloody expensive!

Afterward we continues our odyssey climbing a short way back up the hill then heading across the town taking in the main shopping strip and finally finding the sign posts for the Tate. We visited the Tate but for the reasons already given we didn’t actually go into the Gallery proper. The Tate is situated around the headland away from the town harbour and the change in the sea is astonishing. The harbour and surrounding sea had been as still as a mill pond because, I assume the headland acted as a windbreak whereas round the other side of it you encountered numerous surfers taking advantage of large powerful waves.

We walked back into the town had final look around the shops and started the long climb back up to the railway station. We too advantage of the many shops on the hill to stop and rest and shop some more. Eventually, we reached the Station, waited for the train and finally waved farewell to glorious St Ives; I’ll be back my love!

By now the tide had completely come in and the swampy flood plain that had had been the backdrop of our journey into town was now totally flooded and as a result the landscape was transformed.

Back at Lelant Salting we reclaimed our car and headed for home. We weren’t in a hurry and took our time as we tootled slowly home taking in the beautiful Cornish scenery!

Back at the Estate after we had rested and had something to eat we made our way to the pool and sauna after which we went back to our rooms and to bed or TV as took one’s preference.


Monday, 18 October 2010

Up Late, Off to Falmouth, Park and Ride, Falmouth, More Pasties, The Harbour, Through Town, Half Timbered Shopping Centre, The National Maritime Museum, Lighthouses, Life Rafts, Boats by the Boatload, Town Again, More Pasties, A Nokia N8, Stumpy the Pigeon, Asda No Cider and Forgot Beer, Home, More Pasties, Cream Tea, Sherlock Holmes Film, Saxophonist in Bar, To Bed

Today it was Monday so according to Deb’s reckoning everything should be open today, everything that is except for those attractions that have closed for the season. We got up quite late and as a result didn’t leave the estate until about 11:00. We were headed for Falmouth (Falmouth Wiki  Falmouth Pictures)  famous for its DEEP WATER HARBOUR (the third deepest in the World) and home of the National Maritime Museum.

We didn’t drive into the town itself; rather we stopped on the outskirts at the park and ride and caught a double-decker bus into the town centre. Unfortunately, because it was now out of season, we weren’t able to use the park and ride boat which was a shame as that would have been a fantastic way to see the harbour and enter the town. The bus only dropped off at two places, the top of town and the bottom and believe me there was one hell of a difference in altitude between these two points. As with most Cornish towns Falmouth is nestled at the bottom of a cliff. We opted to remain on said bus until it reached the bottom. We were dropped by the pier which we never actually got to walk out on, next time maybe. We disembarked and immediately our pastie senses, your DNA activates this primitive residual sense as you enter Cornwall, kicked in and we followed them to the nearest pastie shop located less than twenty yards from the bus stop. When we get home I think we need to take Hannah to the doctors to see why her pastie sense doesn’t work as once again she insisted on having a sausage roll (oh the shame of having a damaged child how do we bare it…with incredibly fortitude and a quite dignity that’s admired by all, that’s how. Enough off our nobility lets continue with the day). We began to stroll into town but were diverted to the harbour by Deb who, for reasons unknown, has a phobia about eating in public and wanted to get us off the main drag as we stuffed our faces with pasties. This wasn’t a bad decision as it allowed us both the opportunity to take some photos we might otherwise have missed. Here are those photos along with those of Stumpy the One legged pigeon who I’ll mention later! )
After we’d finished our pasties Deb allowed us to reenter the Town via an ally way next to a Chandler’s store.
We continued to check out the local shops; Cornish towns do not display the uniform ubiquity of most other English town centres and so there was a large and diverse variety of local shops. In a short while we arrived at the museum which is located behind the local shopping mall. Now this mall did contain most of the usual suspects (chain outlets common in every town) but was still unusual in that its front is half-timbered! This was quite a disconcerting sight at first; we soldiered on and entered the museum where they charged us an Arm and a Leg for entry…£26.00 OMG!!!
It was worth every penny; what a fantastic place I’ve never seen so many boats in my entire life. Our first “Port” of call, pardon the pun, was the exhibition on the history of  The Corporation of Trinity House and Light Houses they administer. Astonishingly, given the importance of the role played by maritime trade in the growth of the British Empire Trinity House is not a government department but is rather an ancient Royal Corporation!

Trinity House has three main functions:

It is the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, responsible for a range of general aids to navigation, 'signs of the sea', from lighthouses to radar beacons.
It is a charitable organisation dedicated to the safety, welfare and training of mariners.
It is a Deep Sea Pilotage Authority providing expert navigators for ships trading in Northern European waters.
The Corporation also inspects buoys provided by local harbour authorities.

There were old black and white films, predating the use of helicopters, depicting keepers embarking and disembarking from isolated storm tossed houses; some of these films were positively stomach churning. There were full size mock-ups of the insides of the houses and the cramped conditions had to be seen to be believed.

As I mentioned there were lots of archive pictures, films and recordings that showed and described what life was like for those who manned these remote and inaccessible rocks. In particular, the film clips that showed keepers disembarking from and embarking back onto the supply boats that carried them to and from their 2/3 month assignments were amazing, as much for the fact that someone had been able to film them. There was a mock-up of the accommodation section and it was astonishing how tiny this area was. When you think that three men had to live together in this claustrophobic environment for up to three months at a time it’s surprising they didn’t end up killing each other. Apparently the tiny curved bunks were deliberately designed that way in order to prevent people from snoring; it was impossible to sleep on them laid out flat on your back and this was supposed to prevent you from snoring. If anyone reading this is planning to buy and convert an abandoned light-house into a domestic dwelling I strongly suggest you don’t if you’re at all claustrophobic! Deb and Hannah and Nat and I got separated after this; Nat and I continued to explore whilst Deb and Hannah went to the boat pond and played with the boats. Below are the photos and videos of what we did and saw. We met up again the played in the lifeboats/rafts went down to the part of the building that’s underwater and finally took the lift up to the observation deck over looking the harbour where a knowledgeable old sailor told us all about the harbour and the activity taking place in front of us. All in all an amazing experience, especially if like me you know little or nothing about sailing and the sea; yes I did spend 6 weeks a year at the seaside as a child but the people I stayed with weren’t nautically inclined.

After we’d finished in the museum we mooched about outside, had a look at the boats tied up next to it and started to walk back down into the town. Before we did anything else we bought ourselves some more pasties which we ate at the bus stop (mine was Steak and Stilton but I was unimpressed; the one I’d bought the last time we visited was far tastier). While Deb disappeared into a clothes shop with Hannah Nat and I walked on until we reached a phone shop displaying a Nokia N8 in the window. I’d spotted this on our way to the museum and this was a chance to get my hands on one even if it was a model. Nice size, better for my small hands that the iPhone and the more squarish android phones. I was looking forward, immensely, to playing with Hasmukh’s real one when I got back to work. Finally we were back at the bus stop and we set about consuming our pasties. As is common we were immediately surrounded by birds of all sorts but mainly gulls and pigeons. One of the pigeons appeared a little odd and as you might be able to tell from the photos it was missing one leg entirely and the other was only half there. Whatever it battled valiantly for it’s share of the crumbs we were dropping and Stumpy is obviously a little survivor.

Eventually the bus arrived and on the journey back to the car we discovered that we had missed a huge part of Falmouth so that means there will still be something new to see the next time we visit.

We arrived back at the park and Ride and drove away; I still hadn't been able to buy any cheap cider to add to my TinE’s (I like mixing cheap lager and cider – I like the taste of cider but this way the drink’s not too strong) so when we passed an ASDA we stopped to see about dealing with this problem. But the ASDA had none of it’s own brand on the shelves (apparently its being phased out and replaced by another brand I later discovered); so distracted and upset was I at this turn of events that I omitted to purchase the beers I’d also wanted...what a Twat I sometimes always am! In the meantime Deb had bought more pasties and the makings of a Cornish Cream Tea. When we did get home we discovered she’s messed up to and bought double instead of clotted cream, WHAT ARE WE LIKE?

Later we watched the new Guy Richie Sherlock Holmes film, better the second time and afterward
I popped over to the bar to see what the Saxophonist was like. Ok but no cash so didn’t stay. Went back to our rooms and watched TV after Deb and the kids had gone to bed. They really need a channel guide on their TV’s!!!



Sunday, 17 October 2010

Sunday, Introduction, Hayle, Pasties, Birds, Hell's Mouth, Portreath, Soaking Kids, Swimming, Comedian, Rattler Cyder

We woke refreshed, bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to take on anything this strange isolated backwater (yeah, backwater, I believe Cornwall is the UK’s second biggest tourist destination after the Lake District) had to throw at us…why am I making this sound more like a fight than a holiday? Because I can…why, do you want make something of it reader, you looking at my funny mate?

We headed off to main reception; no I don’t know why I didn’t get any photos of this area either. The main restaurant was situated upstairs overlooking the pool and we grabbed a table, and some free pastries, at the back of the room and waited for things to get started. Deb got chatting to a lady from Ebba Vale, in Wales, who’d heard my Welsh accent and who had used this as an excuse to strike up a conversation with her until a shortly while later the resident comedian, a chap named Paul MaGahan who was to be that night’s “turn”, gave an amusing and rather useful talk about the area and the various attractions. His advice, especially about where and where not to drive to, was to prove very useful during the coming days.

With the intro talk over we decided to explore the surrounding area but without plans to go anywhere in particular. Deb was concerned that now it was out of season many places would be closed on a Sunday and so today would be about driving around and getting a feel for the place. First we headed for Hayle, which is, or so it claims, the Pastie Capital of Cornwall, boasting no less than SIX separate Cornish Pastie Shops.

Being the discerning consumers we are we, of course, stopped a the very first one we came across which turned out to be “Philps Pasty Bakery, East Quay”.

For a Sunday morning this little shop was amazingly busy and eventually after a few minutes queueing we acquired some “medium” pasties for Nat, Deb and Me and a couple of sausage rolls for Hannah who had, as usual (because they had meat in them), already decided she didn’t like pasties. I’m sad to say that, as big as these pasties were, I found them to be rather disappointing; they appeared to be comprised of a mass of, slightly undercooked, shredded potato which hid the occasional seam of beef. Anyway, enough of my culinary complaints, we seated ourselves over looking Quay to eat and were soon surrounded by birds of all kinds (mainly huge gulls and hooded crows). Utterly unafraid of people these pesky scavengers scurried around our feet pecking at dropped pastry crumbs. When we actually threw down small pieces for them we were then entertained by an impromptu display of Darwin’s theory of the “survival of the fittest” as the birds competed over these scraps.

Pasties finally consumed we once again set off to explore. We eventually found ourselves at Hell’s Mouth which is a dramatic cliff formation next to the road between Portreath Bay and Gwithian Beach in north Cornwall. The land is owned and managed by the National Trust and Hells Mouth lies on the Southwest Coast Path. Nearby is a car park and cafe. The views from here along the North Cornish coastline were fantastic. Hells Mouth lies on a popular 3.7 mile coastal walk which stretches from Godrevy Navax Point at one end to Basset's Cove at the other. Below I’ve embedded the photographs we took of this spectacular location.

We parked next to the cafĂ© and walked up to the cliffs. Even here, with an unimpeded view over the Celtic Sea we were still unable to get a GPS fix on either my phone or Nat’s. I think the local “Cyder Witches” are interfering with the signals…spooky! Afterwards the kids each had an ice-cream whilst I admired the sovereign ring knuckledusters being worn by one of the local bikers who was parked there. There seem to be an amazing number of bikers in Cornwall! Back in the car we continued to explore until we ended up in Portreath. We parked up, there was another large group of bikers in the car park, and went down onto the beach. The kids decided they’d like to paddle in the sea and as you’ll see from the photos below they both ended up completely soaked. Lacking a change of clothing, you don’t anticipate the need in October; we got them stripped down and into the car. Nat wasn’t happy disrobing in public but he wasn’t getting into the car otherwise. In the end the car door and a strategically held coat protected his modesty. Hannah’s still young enough not to be too bothered.

It was late afternoon before we got back to Clowance; we’d stopped off at Morrison’s to buy some beer (a vain hope as it seems that they don’t stock cheap beer or cider the swine’s). By the time the kids had changed it was too late to go wandering again so we settled in for the day. A little later we all went for a swim and I had a sauna, no kids allowed. Afterward Nat and I decided we’d go to the bar to see if the comedian was funny than he’d been that morning. Deb and Hannah decide not to come with us. The chap was fairly amusing but the biggest surprise was his voice. He had a very powerful voice and could mimic songs excellently. When he did a cover version of a popular hit it sounded just like the original version. Why don’t people like him ever appear on show like the X-Factor? A very pleasant discover, although that can’t be said for the price, was Rattler (a draft local cider) which was very nice indeed. Even Nat, who professes that he’s not going to drink when he’s bigger, had a sip and expressed his approved. Rattler is made by Healey’s and it was their Cyder Farm that we visited later in the week. I nearly won a drink from the comedian when the bar staff told me the answer to a question he’d set the audience when I was in the loo but unfortunately he gave the answer before I had a chance to speak. About 23:00 everything wound up and Nat and I went back to the Coach House and to bed. All in all it had been a great day.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

We're off To Cornwall Today

We left home quite early, away before 10:00, and set off on the long haul to the Wild (South) West; land of cider, mysticism, pasties, sun, cider, no mobile signals, pasties, no GPS signals (I blame the cider witches), did I mention the cider and pasties. Personally I was looking forward to the cider and the pasties but as it turned out I ate many pasties but drank little cider but even so I was still to fall in love with Rattler (link). As are all our longish journeys, this one was fraught with an underlying concern; would Nat suddenly and unexpectedly cover the back of my head with the contents of his stomach? He continues to get quite queasy on all forms of transport; he threw up AS the plane landed in Florida in 2006, so I grew more and more on edge as the time passed! We stopped at a couple of services for Loo breaks and maybe these short stops this gave his tummy time to settle because the trip passed without gastric incidents…thank God. Overall the journey took about five hours and we arrived, after getting lost in Camborne and stopping to ask for directions at the police station (No GPS), at Clowance Estate at approximately 15:00.

[Clowance Estate is situated in the centre of the Cornish countryside, between Falmouth and St. Ives. Set in 97 acres of magnificently landscaped parkland and woodlands, Clowance Estate comprises of an 18th Century manor house and its own private golf course. The grounds offer enchanting pathways with over 50 species of trees consisting of various unusual species including the Chusan Palms from the Yangtze River and other rare plants such as the Mexican Fleabane.]

Check in was at 16:00 but we were able to pick up our keys immediately and made our way to our accommodation; this was in the old Coach House (no.1) and it was up to the standard we’ve come to expect from timeshare properties. It would have been nice to have stayed in the lodges but what we were given was more than satisfactory.

After settling in Deb took the kids to the swimming pool next to main reception whilst I sorted out the TV, Nat had unplugged a cable, and the fell asleep on the sofa. We didn’t do anything particular during the rest of that first day other than mooch about and watch TV (they really need to get some sort of programme listings on the TV’s here because there wasn’t anyway of finding out what was on. There was next to no mobile signal anywhere on the estate so I couldn’t even access a TV guide on my mobile) during the rest of the evening. We had to be up reasonably early the next day to attend the introductory briefing that was being held in the restaurant at 10:30. Deb and the kids went to bed fairly early leaving me to indulge in my favourite hobby, to wit, falling asleep on the sofa!

Saturday 16 October 2010

Today was boring just a long drive a boring long drive the worst start to half term there is. We drove for 5 hours with only one break at a services I got a hot chocolate. When we got to the hotel it was rather nice with a large main room and a TV with a free view box hurray!!! one of the downsides was that I had to share a room with dad boy does he snore.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Nat's 13 birthday

My 13 birthday

Today I woke up in the morning oddly enough and rushed down stairs to open my one present (I only had one present because I had already got Halo Reach legendary edition exactly 1 month before)and cards. the present was a halo 3
T-shirt and there was a tenner in one of the cards!!! After this I cycled to school it was pretty stranded except that I got a hot dinner it was a rap with chicken and salad in.

After school I went to the police HQ with Scouts it was great we went in to the command and control room and we went to see the GUNS!!!!!!! First we saw the fire arms departments cars and gear we saw a taser being shot then after this we went to the armoury I got to hold a MP5 and a bout5on round gun and a Glock carbine we also saw a luger and a AK 47 or at least a gun based on the AK.

Birthday Boy - Thirteen Today - A Teenager - draft

I've not seen Nat yet; he'd gone to school by the time I got home but today (12:15 PM to be exact) he became a teenager and for all intents and purposes his childhood is now over. I don't mean, by that remark, that he's suddenly an adult but rather today sort of marks a transition, one that he's been transitioning through for the last 18 months in reality, to a state of independence. His life now really becomes his own, we are now, and will more and more rapidly become, a peripheral part of his OWN personal universe and that universe will grow to encompasses more and more things of which we will be unaware and most likely will never become aware of. I'm going to miss that little boy more than I can ever say; it's like a long drawn out bereavement, as gradually the child you doted on, the child you changed and feed and washed and hugged and..... vanishes and the adult emerges. Yes I know it's my job to create that adult but it's much like what puppy walking must be like, no matter how much you realise the important role of guide dogs you can help but miss the puppy when it finally leaves. Have I been to the cinema with just Nat for the final time? What'll replace those things; taking him for his first beer when he's fourteen and can pass for eighteen? I don't know and as for Hannah she does those things with Ded and seems utterly disinterested in doing anything with me...I'm Sad!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

One Day To Go...God Help Us!

Christ I still can’t believe that Nat will be thirteen (13) tomorrow; WTF as the time gone to? One minute he’s six and Hannah’s a babe in arms then before you know it he’s left primary school, he’s finished his first year is secondary school and he’s one day away from becoming a teenager. A Teenager oh shit me shades of Kevin; tomorrow he’ll bounce down stairs full of child like joy and then suddenly the transformation will take place and slob boy will be born, although to be honest looking at his bedroom he’s been gestating for quite a number of years, 13 to be exact!

Tuesday 12 October - Sprained wrist, overtime, all about symbian,podcast, N8, Nokia, Steve Litchfield, University fee, Clare Rayner,JDM, Christopher Hitchins, Twitter, Follower

I don’t know why but every time I notice that today’s the 12th of October I feel as if there’s something important about this day I should remember but for the life of me I can’t.
I finished my stint of O/T with the other team at midnight and rode home. I appear to have sprained my wrist while doing this; I HAD TO BRAKE SUDDENLY AT ONE POINT AND THIS MAY HAVE BEEN THE CAUSE when something ran in front of the bike. Whatever the cause; when I got home and went to sit down I nearly screamed when I put all my weight on to my left hand. It was extremely painful, for a moment I thought I'd broken my wrist. The upshot was that I had to dig out one of the kids boxing bandages, strap it round my wrist and then try not to roll over, while asleep, in the bed. This was easier said than done and I was woken a number of times throughout the night. By the time morning arrived I was exhausted and I eventually fell asleep and slept until mid afternoon. I can't claim that I woke refreshed and tonight at work looks like being a very very long night indeed. I think I’m going to see whether I can book Thursday off as well as Friday. It’ll be a shame to lose £50.00 in overtime payments but it is Nat’s birthday and the last thing I want to do is go on holiday with an extremely painful wrist.

Listened to the All About Symbian and The Phones Show Chat podcasts in bed today and the good news is that the N8, a few little niggles aside, appears to be the best phone that Nokia has ever made and lives up to the hype. Steve Litchfield (AAS & TPSC) considers it to bed the best camera phone in the world bar none and capable of going head to head with many stand alone point and shoot cameras and even some lower end SLR’s. Now that’s praise indeed and I’m becoming more and more committed to the idea of buying one. This is, after all, the only the reason why I’ve done all of this overtime this weekend; that being said, however, given the news today about the coming increase in University fees I’d probably be best advised saving it towards those. How the F**k are Nat and Hannah ever going to be able to afford to go to University? I’d write to Clare Rayner for advice if it wasn’t for the sad fact that she passed away last night. Now there’s a woman who could look back on her life and say that she did indeed do an awful lot of good for an awful lot of people. RIP Clare Rayner, Humanist, Atheist and all round decent egg.
JDM returned to work tonight after recovering from his knee operation; proudly displaying his scars including before and after photos of said scars. They said I was crude when I did that so obviously rank hath its privileges. We had a ten minute buzz that lasted for forty five I love it when others can’t count and keep asking the same dumb questions and show utter disregard for the time. Best of all we’ve another meeting scheduled for tomorrow evening so Lord knows what we will’ll have to discuss at that one. No doubt Prash will ask his classic one o clock question and then immediately forget the answer. I’m sure he does it on purpose because I know he’s not that stupid. Fairs fair, they were loads of people available to field the workload while we were procrastinating!
WTF!!! When we were finished and had returned to our work stations I finally managed to get round to logging into twitter. I noticed I’d acquired a number of new followers (174 all told) and decided to check them out. Well knock me down with a feather, one turned out to be famous writer, journalist and atheist Christopher Hitchins's, yes the Hitch, and he’d followed me. So., of course, I immediately repaid the favour and followed him but HTF did he see my stuff? I’m going to have to up my game now, I’m not going to be able to Tweet any old bollocks if I’ve got a writer of his calibre looking over my shoulder. I should mention that while I wasn’t following his twitter stream I have his Slate articles as one of my Google Reader “thinkers” feeds. The F**king Hitch FM!!!
I’ve just seen the pictures of the young Afghani girl who had her nose and ears cut off by her husbands family (why can’t we have a decent religion like they do) with her new, temporary, prosthetic nose. This is what she will eventually look like when decadent godless western surgeons will reconstruct it for real… what a bunch of C**ts they must be for going against God’s will like that… Stoning is, obviously, too good for them don’t they know God wants men to hate and suppress women?
Well, never show C anything or she’ll end up showing everyone else. I made the “mistake” of showing her the Oddee site which compiles lists of weird things. Before I know it she’s ferreting about all over it finding interesting things I was saving for later. Naughty lady won’t show you anything else if you keep doing this. Only Joking! Bollocks I’ve still got a hundred words to go in order to reach 1,000. I’ll have to keep reading Twitter and Google Reader until I find something else to write about. Can’t keep talking about using waffle to fill the space that’s left because eventually that strategy will become tedious I mean I’m bored doing it now so Lord knows what you dear reader are feeling as you plough your way through this waiting for me to eventually say that I’ve made it to the point I wanted to reach and that there’s no longer any need for me to continue. Not quite there yet…Yeah!

Tuesday: Where's UR Blog Nat

It's your birthday this week so i'll give you a free pass on this one but if you want to go skiing then a deal is a deal!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Tuesday 12 October 2010 Birthday Eve Eve

Tuesday 12 October

Nothing much happened today except after school rugby was called off at short notice and as a result I walked halfway home before mum picked me up. The only other Note worthy thing is that it is my birthdays eve eve so to borrow a saying from a Disney program Yea me.

Nat (The Ginster) Jones

Monday, 11 October 2010

Monday 11 Oct - overtime, work, night team, moscow, circus, twitter

Last night I moved over and sat near the alternative night team. What a mistake, sat there for three hours during which time not a single one of them spoke to me. Well if they ever ask for someone to transfer teams I know someone who won’t be volunteering!
Eventually midnight arrived and I packed up and cycled home. I got back around 12:30 which wasn’t bad going as I was cycling into the wind most of the way home. I wonder if cycling is why my hips still hurt after the operations. I grabbed a beer from the fridge, Oh God there are only four and we’ve no money until Friday. I nursed two of them while playing about on Twitter waiting to wind down enough to go to bed. I think I came up with some bad Hashtags film titles but I was to make up for this later when I got up. Finally, about 2:30 I went to bed and slept until nine when I woke to cancel my dental appointment; there were two reasons for doing this, one, I wanted to stay in bed and two I didn’t have any money to pay them with and they’ve stopped accepting cheques.
Eventually, I woke at 1:00 PM and came downstairs to watch the news followed by the amazing Jeremy Kyle (I love you Jeremy). However, I soon became involved in another twitter hashtag game and poor Jeremy’s programme was frozen for 90 minutes while I came up with as many stupid quotes as possible. The Tag was “#four wordsyouwouldn’twanttohearapoliticiansay”
I also noticed that next week, when we’re away, the Moscow State Circus comes to Leicester. I took Nat to see this circus when he was a just little boy but Hannah and Deb didn’t come because Hannah was a baby in arms and we don’t do that “take the baby who’ll cry all the way through and spoil it for everybody else” thing. The circus is outstanding, far better than the American one and on a par with the Chinese; the acrobats are incredible. I decided, it’s here until the Sunday and we’re back on Saturday, that I would treat the family and take them to the final performance. While I’m at work doing overtime to pay for this Deb’s spending the evening on line looking to see if we can book tickets more cheaply; otherwise the best seats will cost the four of us exactly £100 full price.
Everyone was home for 4:00 but not for long. Brandon came round for Nat, accompanied by Lucy who did an enormous incredibly stinky Poo in our garden, who then went back to his house with him. Hannah was soon playing with Shantelle, who came inside and I was getting ready for work. I cycled in and arrived at 17:45 only to discover that it was incredibly busy, I nearly went back home. I haven’t stopped until now, 20:37, when I finally started writing this! In twenty minutes the overnight team will be in and I look forward to being ignored for another three hours…such fun!
Nope, looks like they’re having the brief we had last week so I’m by myself, just gone out to smoking area for fresh air, can’t get out anywhere else and they’ve all been let out of meeting for a smoke break. Jesus, it seems everybody on the other team smokes. I GAVE UP AND CAME BACK INSIDE AS I COULDN’T STAND THE SMELL. That’s the last time I forget to take my break and go out late! It’s 22:15 now and I’ve an hour and forty five minutes left to go, then two hours tomorrow and Wednesday and Thursday and that’s my overtime stint done for now. The problem is, when you do O/T is that you start to get used to the extra cash and before you know it you’re always at work. Mind you, if I do it in the evening then at least I get the day to myself. Think I’ll post this now I can always update later if need be.

Monday 11 October 2010

Monday 11 October 2010

Today was pretty stranded except that I went to Brandon's for a couple of hours after school we played COD 5 and Little Big Planet. The only other good thing about today s that it is only 3 days till I am 13 DU DU DUN. But that is about it and now Mondays blog is complete.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sunday 10 Oct 10/10/10 = 101010 = binary 42 Life universe and everything

Didn’t get up until 11.30; Nat was at Rugby, no match just training, and shortly after I got up Deb left to fetch him. Had dinner and caught up on some recorded TV programmes in particular the last three episodes of the BBC science programme “Bang Goes the Theory”. Interesting, especially the article where Richard Dawkins explained how the eye evolved and blew the idea of irreducible complexity out of the water and additionally the solar furnace, in France, that can melt “Anything” on Earth. Watching a rock melt before your eyes as a result of concentrated sunlight is awesome. Nat left for Jacob’s after lunch with Zak so I won’t see him again until tomorrow evening. Hannah found one of the electronics kits he’d been bought one Xmas many years back, and which we’d lost somewhere in the disaster that was his bedroom, and brought it downstairs. She and I started to build a circuit but I wanted to get an hour's sleep and we appeared to have picked the most complex so we left it for the moment we will return to it tomorrow.

I went to bed for a 90Minutes and managed to get some sleep. Up at 4:30 washed changed made coffee etc the cycled to work at 5:15 arrived 5:45. Initially work was very quite but it got extremely but between seven and eight for reasons unknown. Once more I had to deal with an irate Lambeth council tenant with the usual qualities that the irate ones always seem to possess.

When I first arrived I spoke to Hasmukh and asked him if he had any electrical waste (he’s trained as an electrician) I could have to use on Nat’s School cyber mask art project. He said he’ll see what he can find at home.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Sat 9 Oct

Brandon spent the day, Han shop Deb, me bed knackered, no cash, over time, arrived at six, loads of calls manual all night, twittering and having a laugh,

Arrived home at 00:30 to fin Nat and Brandon asleep downstairs on the sofa’s. Whoops, there’s where I sleep as that way Deb’s snoring doesn’t keep me awake. Had a chat with Brandon, who unlike dead to the world Nat, who’s woken up when I arrived home, while checking my email and waiting to cool down. I’d cycled home wearing a high visibility jacket and those thinks make you sweat like a pig. He’s a really nice lad is Brandon I’m glad he and Nat are mates. Mind you, all of Nat’s mates seem like nice kids; it seems he has good taste when it comes to making friends.

Eventually climbed the stairs to Bedfordshire and after setting uip my phone and plugging in my headphones I hit the sheets. Despite the podcasts I still heard Deb snoring and kept waking throughout the night. I was uip at 08:30 but as the day wore on I gradually got more and more tied. Eventually I went to bed at 154:30 until 16:30 then woke feeling like shit. Deb and Han were late getting back from ballet and so there wasn’t time for me to stay for dinner to cook. I had just a couple of sandwiches and a cup of soup before leaving for work at 17:15. Arrived, to a, compared to last night, virtually deserted building; logged on for 18:00 and virtually didn’t stop until 22:00. It then quietened down and I completed the last two hours before mounting my trusty cycle at midnight and riding home. Arrived home 12:30 had a few beers and tweeted some silly film title tweets. I finally went to bed about 02:30.

Friday 8 Saturday 9 October 2010

Friday 8 Saturday 9 October

Brandon slept over last night and it was a great laugh we played halo reach we made a forge map with attackers and defenders but some of the attackers start of behind the enemy lines SNEAK ATACK MU HA HA HA and every one else is in a big areal battle after this we went down stairs set up our “beds” and watched
X-men origins Wolverine which I drifted off in I don't know how far in. When we woke up we had breouch which was very nice but Hannah had more pieces some how? Brandon left at about 7 Saturday night so he stayed over for about 24 hours.

English Defence League March - Saturday 9 October

After all the publicity and fuss and bans the EDL march will be taking place in leicester today. Yet again I've not seen this "event" a combination of no cash, I'm working and Deb said I couldn't go! Below are a selection of videos and reports concerning what happened on the Day!


The day passed relatively peacefully but as always there were nutters on both side who couldn't resist making sure things came to blows. There's a special word for people like that...WANKERS!!!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Hawaiian News, Hiloecho, Bullying, Digital Planet, Lucy Dog, Brandon, Monopoly, Over Time,

Its 21:46 I’m at work, with Julie B, Carol and Gail doing overtime, they’re here until 11:00 while a mugging here is on until mid-night. It’s time to look back over today… made it home for 08:35 which was pretty good as I didn’t get away until about 08:10. I left as the Outriders podcast started and reached home just as it ended approx 24 minute’s.

Once home I logged onto the net to take a look at the Hawaiian TV news that hiloecho had flagged up on Twitter. This featured him lobbying about school bullying and getting his daughter’s school to sign a pledge to deal with racial and sexual harassment. His daughter had been suffering the hands of bullies and the school had failed to take the action their promised to put a stop to it (insert vid). Afterward I sent him a private message just to confirm he was the Dad (dif name to the one he uses’s on Twitter) and to congratulate him on his and his wife’s achievement. We exchanged a few more messages before I went to bed. In bed I put on the latest Digital Planet podcast but kept falling asleep. I must have restarted it four times and each time I fell asleep. In the end I listened to it on the way to work.

Deb woke me at Five and advised that we had a lady visiting downstairs; it was Lucy, Brandon’s dog, who’d come to visit with him and who was madly playing 2with Monty who seemed to think that doggy Xmas had come.

Nat, Brandon and Hannah were downstairs playing Monopoly, yes monopoly on a board not a PC or X-Box…Proper monopoly…amazing. Deb had made pizza for tea but to be honest I only had a couple of slices. I’ve gone right off pizza as it is and this one was particular unpleasant and seemed to leave a nasty aftertaste. Whoops, we’re supposed to be going to Pizza Hut for Nat’s birthday next Friday, I’ll have the salad thank you!

Left for work at 18:15 and here I am now.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


Home at 08:30 watched Jeremy Kyle Show for my daily dose of Chavs then off to bed about 11:00 for some sleep before work later. Normally this would be the last of my four nights but I’m booked in to do overtime on my off days so I’m likely to be a “little” tied later this week. It’s double bubble, weird term that everyone appears to use, which equates to £25.00 per hour before tax (about £1.50 afterwards). Up for five because I was due to start at 18:55 (£50!!!) and then I’d be working through until 08:00 next morning.  The night was fairly uneventful when I wasn’t dealing with clients I was on Twitter, reading feeds or writing previous post for this blog. I think I’ll draw a line there…wait, I’ve not reached my two hundred word minimum and I’ve nowt left to say; The Quick Brown Fox Jumped Over The Lazy Dog, no that’s not enough. The previous word was one hundred and fifty eight so there’s still a fair way to go to reach that magic two hundred and the well has run dry nothing comes to mind of any substance. Not even any piffle come to that 201 phew!!!

Thursday 7 October 2010

Thursday 7 October

Today was pretty stranded except that rugby had been moved from after school to lunch and even though I got the office to ring home had I got home later then I did then my mum would have been at Brockington waiting for me not realising that I was at home. After school Brandon came over and we had a battle I won because I am the best person ever to exist.
By Nat

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Bed. Prostrate, Baked Potato, Super Coffee, Lego, New York, Overtime, Scouts, Lock Door, Briefing

When I got home this morning I knew I couldn’t remain awake for very long because I’d be starting work early that evening. I was due in at 18:55 (two hours early) so I’d have to be out of bed by 17:00 at the latest. Eventually I went to bed at around 11:30 and managed to grab five or so hours of broken sleep; I kept waking for a pee which is weird as I’d had nowt to drink before I went to bed…Well Hello There Middle-aged Prostate!!! I was up for Five and downstairs ready for munchies. I know I’ve got something of a pot belly at the moment but I think Deb’s idea of a main meal to last me through the night was a little lacking…One Baked potato with cheese!!! Somehow I managed ALL of it and subsequently dragged myself to the kitchen to prepare my flask of killer strength black coffee (12 spoons coffee 6 spoons sugar and hydrochloric acid to taste) and grad a ready meal for later. During this time Deb left to take Hannah to ballet and I was alone with Nat. I now learned, a little, about Lego and the USA. Apparently Brockington has paid for its students to enter the Lego robot (?) building challenge. The local area winners will go on to compete nationally in London and the winners there will go on to the World finals IN New York. Well Nat has formed his own team and is now convinced that they are going all the way to New York. I mean they haven’t got a clue, as yet, of what they’re going to build but whatever it is they’re going to win; isn’t unrealistic confidence a wonderful thing?

Nat will be going to Scouts before Deb gets back and I’ll be going before he leaves so if we’re not to be burgled Nat’s going to have to remember to lock the front door when he leaves! Full of trepidation, he’s got a memory like a sieve at times; I left at 18:15 and cycled to work.

When I arrived things were fairly busy; of course my desk was occupied so I had to find one elsewhere. The two hours flew by and at 21:00 when my normal hours were to start we were advised we were scheduled to attend a brief about the Company’s winter coping strategy. This went on until 22:30 and was very impressive. We’d been visited by the MD a few weeks before and he’d made a lot of promises that we’d all heard before. This time it appears we have an MD who actually puts his money where his mouth is. If this all pans out then this winter is going to be far less stressful than last!

I was back at my desk at 22:35 and the rest of the night passed predictably. Planned out my overtime for the weekend and was still undecided about Monday. Bugger I need another fourteen words to make it to Five Hundred and Seven.

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Wednesday 6 October

Today was pretty normal at school except I saved Jonathan from being bullied by a little prick called Dan. After5 school I went to the doctors because I have a bad foot it turns out that I have an inflamed ligament in my foot making it painful to walk. After this I went on a night hike with Scouts and when we were out we went to the chippie.
By Nat

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Nat's Blog, Ballistic Helmet, Skiing Trip, Last Chance sallon, Gadget Show, Lego, Overtime Planning, Twitter

I was right, the Blog issue came to a head tonight; I’d been in bed all day and I’d gradually been getting more and more annoyed. Nat wants to go skiing and had promised to start writing his blog everyday (it’s only 50 f**king words for Gods sake now Deb’s in charge) but yet again it hadn’t been done. As far as I was concerned not only was he repeatedly breaking a promise but he was now taking the piss and treating us with utter contempt. He will never know how close he came to losing that trip as he did this evening. I’d had enough, he’s got f**king dyspraxia and if he doesn’t deal with it now it’ll screw his life over just as it did mine. I should have made my living out of writing but instead I was scared of it for forty years. So after a calm build up lasting a good thirty seconds I put on my “Going F**KING Ballistic Helmet” and gave him both barrels of shit full on in his face (God knows how many rules of grammar I’ve probably just broken in that previous sentence) in fact at one point I did decide that I’d had enough he’d crossed too many lines and skiing was history. The penny didn’t drop; it was only a few minutes later that he realised what I’d said and that he’d blown it. It was like being called into the office and being fired it the finality takes a few minutes to sink in. He ran for his bedroom and was in tears. I let him stew in his juices before I offered him his FINAL (hope UR reading this Nat) and I do mean Final chance. The next time he misses one he loses his skiing trip; then it’s a downhill slide from there, Scouts will be next, then Rugby, then Judo, the Boxing, the GamesWorkshop and finally his X-box and PC. I don’t want to do this but if I have to I will. His future is far more important than him not hating me. If that’s the price I’ve got to pay then so be it!!!


Apparently Nat’s doing something to do with Lego and the USA but I was in no mood to be interested he’ll have to tell me tomorrow. I then watched the Gadget Show and had dinner before leaving for work. I decided that I would take advantage of the overtime on offer (at double bubble = £25 per hour) and put myself down to do

2 hours on Wednesday 18:55 – 20:55

2 hours on Thursday ditto

5 hours on Friday 19:00 – 00:00

6 hours on Saturday 18:00 – 00:00

6 hours on Sunday 18:00 – 00:00

I couldn’t decide whether to do Monday evening too as this would be my only night off before our shift started again on Tuesday. Mind you I’m only in for three days next week as we’re off to Cornwall on Saturday and Alf and Doreen are visiting on Friday to take Nat out for a birthday meal – he becomes a teenager the day before Thursday 14 October…WTF did the time go?

C is now sitting next to me where Ash used to sit and I spent some of the night explaining how Twitter worked to her. The rest of the time was spent writing the previous entries on this blog, Twittering and reading my Google feeds. Now I’ve only got to write an additional twenty words to have reached the magic six hundred. Four More To Go!