01 December 2008 (Monday) - December - Magic Again
I didn’t sleep last night. Not at all. When I first started doing blood test night work, if you had two after midnight, that was considered busy. Last night was continuous - finish one, another would be waiting. All night long. It came as blessed relief when the early shift arrived at 8am.
Home to find ‘er indoors TM was off to work via the town centre so I scrounged a lift – I’ve been meaning to pay some money into the Astronomy club’s account for some time. Whilst we do need a float of petty cash, I can’t help but feel that the float I was keeping was £150 too much. I’ve got a committee meeting later so it’s probably for the best to get the account straight.
And then I had a bit of a mooch around town. As I’ve mentioned before, I rarely go into Ashford these days. My life is too precious to waste on “shopping” – anything I need to buy can be obtained from eBay. And Ashford town centre is in many ways the same as any other town centre – loads of shops. With one or two exceptions the same shops you get everywhere selling the same stuff you get everywhere. But the town seemed to be getting rather festive, and I wasted half an hour looking about, soaking up the ambience. I was quite taken with the sign outside the George offering an all day breakfast for four quid. A shame they were closed. So much for “all day”.
Whilst in town I thought I’d have a look at the
latest controversy in town. What used to be known as
I even went so far as to phone the council to ask what they were playing at. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing I wound up with KCC’s highways department. A very helpful chap there had never heard of the scheme, but he listened to what I had to say and gave me a reference number – 16237053. I wonder if anything will come of it?
And so home. And in a novel (almost bizarre) break with tradition I did the ironing. And then had a bit of a kip in front of the telly before opening my advent calendar. Some people have religious rubbish in their advent calendar, some have chocolate. Me – I have lego.
Moustache update My moustache is now but a memory. I’ve done my bit – it’s time for everyone else to do theirs. You can donate on-line you know. And if you want to remember the thing, you can see the album here.
02 December 2008 (Tuesday) - Stuff
Some time in the late 1980s I was asked to take on the task of formally overseeing the training of undergraduate and newly appointed people at work. Since that time I’ve successfully seen the qualification of fourteen trainees. Two more formally qualified today. It was as well the inspector was a tad delayed in traffic – when she was actually due to arrive, we were all standing in the car park due to a fire alarm.
The lego advent calendar contained a “thing”. I’m not sure what it is. I’m hoping future models will make today’s identity clearer.
And then to the dentist for a filling. I spent most of the time explaining the difference between lager and Guinness to the dentist. Apparently he drinks whatever he’s given in a pub and was waiting for me because he thought that my Shepherd Neame tie made me an expert on the subject. I’ve steered him in the direction of the dark winter beers. Well, they work for me.
And then news from cub camp – it would seem that the chap who owns the field which is used for cub camp has been made an offer for the land. As you can see the views from the place are quite amazing, and I would imagine houses built there would be worth a fortune. It would be such a shame to lose the site for camping….
03 December 2008 (Wednesday) - More Stuff
This morning’s haul of emails brought in one from Grover Miranda. Apparently she liked my profile, and so invited me to check hers out. I didn’t realise that you didn’t need to wear much in the way of clothing on a profile. She must be cold.
This morning’s advent calendar surprise was a lego table complete with cup and frying pan. There are those that ridicule lego advent calendars. They are jealous. And then the plan was to start wrapping Xmas pressies. I have the stuff to be wrapped. I have the wrapping paper. Gift tags…. I have some. I have loads. All summer long the things were constantly in the way. Now I need them they have vanished. To Tesco’s to get some. I get annoyed in Tesco’s car park. No matter where I park I find myself hounded by Polish car washers. They spent six years pointedly ignoring my Espace that needed a good scrub. But seem enthralled with the prospect of giving the Scenic the once-over. Stuff them. They had the chance with the Espace. Trouble is, Sainsbury’s have the itinerant car washers too, and Asda charge you to use the car park (which I resent).
While I was in Tesco’s, I bought my ingredients for the weekend. Xmas dinner at home for sixteen people. Some might say it’s a tad ambitious, but we did dinner for thirty once before (admittedly not in my living room). If everyone does something, it all works out OK – I’m doing … I won’t give it a poncey name. Basically it’s turkey stew. The stew bit is all done – it needs a few days to soak. The turkey is defrosting. I’ll worry about that tomorrow.
04 December 2008 (Thursday) - Back to Tesco
Well, I was up at 4.30am anyway. As well as doing a load of laundry, I put the turkey in the oven. I had to jiggle the shelves around to make it fit. The turkey stew is at phase two, and should (hopefully) be ready for the weekend. I’m not sure how many more phases I’ve got time for. And even if it’s not ready it will be slapped on the table anyway (!) If anyone wants to know what’s in it, there are two ingredients: turkey and stew. I get so wound up by people asking if whatever I’ve boiled up has got “whatever” in it and then not even giving it a chance. Almost as bad as those who get given something they’ve never had before and smothering it in salt. (You know who you are!!)
I suddenly realised at 5am that I didn’t get any cheese or sprouts yesterday, so back to Tesco’s. Today seemed to be an outing of the epically posteriored. The aisles in Tesco’s aren’t narrow, but some of these women were so large that whilst they didn’t completely fill the aisle, you couldn’t get past them.
Dinner for sixteen at home could so easily have grown to dinner for thirty at home. And were we to have opened up to friends living more than a few miles away we could easily top the fifty mark. It was suggested last night that the scout hall be used. But it’s cold, and whilst I’m still officially “on leave”, I’m feeling that I’m well out of the whole scouty thing. However I did enjoy the dinner for thirty that we did three Xmases ago and would like to have a go at a bigger one. The only problem is finding a venue.
And on the lego front, my lame looking lego man has a girl friend. She has an ice cream, and an expression which says she ain’t sharing it.
05 December 2008 (Friday) - Planks, Ponds and Lego
Some plank from Kent County Council phoned me back today
to follow up the complaint I made on Monday about the so-called “shared space” in the town centre. To
refresh the memories of my faithful readers, Ashford’s “shared space” is a dangerous area where
cars and pedestrians all have equal rights to an area which is neither road
nor pavement. He claimed the area was the brainchild of Ashford Borough
Council in partnership with the
I’m left wondering how one goes about organising a public protest?
And then I turned off the pump to the fish pond filter because of science. Water is at it’s heaviest at 4oC, and it sinks. So in winter the top of a pond might be frozen, but the bottom isn’t because it’s heavier and therefore warmer. (Given time it will freeze…). All I’m doing by running the filter is taking the (relatively) warm water from the bottom and bringing it to the top where it gets colder and chilling the whole pond. I’ll turn it back on when average night time temperatures get over 4oC again.
Today the lego couple get a table-thingy with a parasol. That’s nice for them.
06 December 2008 (Saturday) - A Party
Up early to Tescos for doughnuts, and then to work. It’s become something of a tradition that when working Saturdays I take doughnuts in to work. Many people have commented on how they like working with me on a Saturday because they like the doughnuts – I like doughnuts. They are cheap, and Tesco is on my way to work anyway.
I did my bit, and then home to prepare for the evening. There’s this bunch of people ….. an advert in a sci-fi magazine…… this is our sixteenth Xmas bash. Sixteen years – I remember being rather nervous before the first night and wondering what would come of it. Over the years we’ve done all sorts of things for Xmas, but for the last three years we’ve done an Xmas bash at home. I (for one) feel its more fun than going out somewhere. We can do our own thing without upsetting the normal people. And (at the risk of sounding a mean old git) it is SO much cheaper.
Things were a bit tight in the living room, but we fitted in a couple of the camping tables, and then realised that whilst we had room for everyone, we couldn’t seat everyone. So we raided Brian’s living room and Lisa’s mum’s garage. Whilst lugging said chairs home I met up with one of the girls from work who was curious. Why was I carrying chairs around the town? I told her I’d stolen them to sell on eBay. She seemed happy with that explanation. The next problem was the bait spanners. (bait spanners?) Over the years we’ve had gifts of canteens of cutlery. But where do they all go to? I do remember breaking a knife trying to open a drain cover once. But how can we have ten more forks than knives? The camping supplies again came in handy.
A quick trip to the train station to collect “Daddies Little Angel TM” and then people arrived. With food. The idea was that for everyone to prepare something. And everyone did. The starters were a meal in themselves. By the time I’d pigged out on the nibbles, the pate and both soups I was quite stuffed. And then we had three choices of main course – lasagne, beef casserole and turkey stew. (I’m still not convinced that I’d got the stew right). More afters than you could shake a stick at. And we had fun with Xmas crackers. Some of the hats were on the large side, and other looked like “Wonder Woman” tiaras. And then Santa visited – I got a pink lego set. Mints were scoffed, and a million and one uses found for the wrappers (including saucy underwear). There was port, cheese, pickled eggs and cigars which were enjoyed by those who like that sort of thing, and then a quiz. Which the best team won. I’d like to think a good time was had by all – I certainly enjoyed myself. To bed at 2am. You can see what happened here.
And in other news today the lego couple get an ice cream trolley. Perhaps that will get his beady eyes off of her cornet.
07 December 2008 (Sunday) - The Day After
I didn’t get out of my pit until gone 10am this morning. That’s very late for me. I must admit to feeling a tad under the weather as I got up – I blame the amount of stout and port I poured down my neck last night (this morning). A few minutes were spent putting photos on to Facebook. You can see them here. And then clearing up. Left over cake doesn’t eat itself. But surprisingly there was very little tidying up to do. However there’s no denying I shall be eating turkey stew for the next fortnight.
Whilst ‘er indoors TM went flogging candles to an unsuspecting public I spent the afternoon fast asleep in front of the computer. An afternoon wasted, really.
Meanwhile the lego couple are visited by a fireman. (I should be so lucky). One wonders if he will get to nibble on her tasty confectionary. However the fireman lives in a pink house and has a pony. She will be disappointed.
08 December 2008 (Monday) - Some Ranting
I changed my profile picture on Facebook last night. You can see the new photo here. I mention this because in the photo I am wearing a new pair of trousers. If any of my loyal readers might happen to know what I’ve done with those trousers, please let me know. I quite liked them, only wore them twice, and have lost them. Yes, I know – I can hear my loyal readers asking how anyone can lose a pair of trousers. Well, if I knew the answer to that question, they wouldn’t be lost, would they?
I see the schools of today are going from bad to worse – a teacher is suspended for punishing pupils arriving late for class. This is bad apparently - "the priority is to ensure that students are happy to be in school." Heaven forbid the little darlings might encounter something they don’t like. And to add insult to injury, other namby-pamby loony-lefties who meddle with the heads of children have launched a new junior dictionary. The words "MP3 player", "voicemail" and "attachment" are now in it, at the expense of “moss”, “fern, "empire" and "monarch".
But on a more positive note I haven’t had any porn-mongers peddling their filth for a few days. Perhaps that’s because of the puritanical actions of the Internet Watch Foundation – a self-appointed bunch who’ve taken it onto themselves to tidy up the Internet. One can’t help but feel they’ve left it rather late.
And it would seem the lego fireman has troubles with a cat stuck up a tree. I am reminded of a certain “singe” that was once “dans l’abre”. I wonder what the cat will drop on the fireman’s head.
09 December 2008 (Tuesday) - Bananas, Elvis and Morality
an apple and a banana with my dinner (not
lunch). Yesterday I didn’t have any to hand, so I wandered round
to the works canteen for supplies. One scabby, manky banana that had festered
over the weekend was 40p. This morning I went to Tesco's near the hospital
where I got a bunch of five fresh bananas (each
of which was twice the size of yesterdays skanky thing) for 50p. At 10p per banana
that’s a quarter of the price for twice as much. Also, last week Tesco's at
Park Farm was flogging tins of
This annoys me. Despite being told the extremely poor prognosis for the survival of conjoined (siamese) twins, some stupid child (younger that “Daddies Little Angel TM”) goes ahead and has the children, refusing an abortion on "moral grounds". One cannot help but wonder about the morality of allowing children to be born that have a 90% expectancy of dying shortly after birth. A very quick search of the Internet shows that “morality” has been mistaken for “crackpot religion”. And then having spent thousands of tax payers’ pounds on the medical treatment of these babies, as predicted, within a week one of them is dead and the other critically ill. To add insult to injury the stupid woman is acting surprised.
Also claiming the moral high ground, the self-appointed bunch of do-gooders I mentioned yesterday have put the skids under Wikipedia.
Meanwhile our lego fireman has found a ladder with which to rescue the cat from the tree. I see the lego lady has come sniffing round. Still brandishing her ice cream I see. One wonders if she will share it this time?
10 December 2008 (Wednesday) - Strange Lights and Paddles
I noticed something odd in the sky as I came out of work tonight – a star with a greenish tinge. I spent quite a while looking at it and wondering what it was until I realised it was a light on an aerial on the hospital’s roof. Perhaps if I had the astronomy club’s new telescope I wouldn’t have had this problem. It cost a lot of dosh, but then that’s why parish councils gave us the money. So much for the Credit Crunch…
Meanwhile back at our lego fireman’s pink house, his “life partner” has come to find out why he’s late for tea. There is an old adage which describes the dilemma of our lego friends – “up the creek without a paddle”. I’ve often wondered about that phrase – but now I know where the paddle is. The lego chef is brandishing it. That will give the lego fireman something to which he can look forward once he’s finished being up the ladder.
11 December 2008 (Thursday) -
Did you know that the gerbils in
Perhaps the chap to ask might be the latest IT guru of my acquaintance. Regular readers might remember my whinges about the utter doombrain that was Fergus (until the entire sorry mess got cancelled). Today we had a “minor IT hiccup”, but we are not to worry because “Mazimo from Omni-Labs” is on the case. He’s about the only person who is “on the case” at the moment. Having allowed too many people to have a pre-Xmas holiday this week, a quarter of my staff phoned in sick today. And another quarter are looking decidedly peaky. Perhaps the end is nigh? That would be a shame, so close to Xmas.
Meanwhile in a world mercifully free of plague and computers, the lego chef (he looks like an “Alan” to me for some reason) has made pizza. He’s made two. Let’s just hope that his “friend” the fireman is grateful for the hard day spent over a hot lego stove….
12 December 2008 (Friday) - Working Too Hard
Being rota-ed for a late start I had plans to have a bit of a lie-in, a leisurely breakfast, and start the day in a gentle way. Instead I had a panicked phone call at 8.45 am. Due to the ongoing flu epidemic at work, the only people who’d rolled in today were the most recent temp and a trainee. So (needless to say) my plans for the morning went out of the window as I embarked on a twelve hour shift.
One good thing to emerge from the day was the breakfast I eventually got. Since I didn’t get one at home, I went to the hospital canteen who did a full English breakfast for less than three quid. Can’t be bad. I then had an apple and a banana for dinner, working on the principle that their healthy goodness would cancel out the earlier fry-up. Which would then allow me a meat pie for tea.
Meanwhile our lego friend has found a chiminiere. I had a go with one of those once….
13 December 2008 (Saturday) - Wet
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned about the piracy in Somalian waters. Today the senior American admiral in the
area suggests that shipping firms would be better advised to hire
private security firms rather than relying on naval support. Can you
believe it? What on earth is the point of having a navy? Why do we have these
ships? I see the Royal Navy has announced plans
for new aircraft carriers. It didn’t take long to find out how much rebuilding University
College Hospital in
In other news, the host of the blog’s backup site has removed the old style IDE drive and has replaced it with a new SATA type. Also its gone from 320gb to 500gb and had added a new caddy (WD My Book) network drive. However this might be slightly slower displaying as it is a 500gb drive (instead of 320). And to complicate the issue, I am flying away on 2.8ghz or 3ghz processor whereas poor server is running at only 1. I’m sure that there are some of my loyal readers who will understand this. For myself, I am reminded of a conversation many years ago about “Fat Agnes”.
And with the Met Office issuing warnings about
the place, I’m off to
And either in response to pirates, aircraft carriers or warnings of rain, the latest lego-er to join the party is a frogman. He has an impressive looking weapon. One wonders whether his interests veer towards pizza or ice cream….
14 December 2008 (Sunday) - Parties, Polar Bears....
Another Sunday lie-in recovering from the excesses of the day before. Not alcohol induced this time as I did the driving last night. Having filled the sexy new car with people and supplies, six of us were only half an hour late in setting off. Ably guided by Google Maps and “scrat nav TM”, our only hiccup was being diverted off of the M26, because of road works but we soon recovered from that little faux pas. On the way we enjoyed the lovely festive music of “Elvis and Friends” (see last Tuesday’s blog entry). Disc one was “Elvis” and was (surprisingly) a disappointment. Disc two (and Friends) was even worse. Well, that was 99p down the toilet. I shall know better next time.
To Reigate for the Xmas
bash of the Brighton Kite Fliers. Reigate –
Silly games. Everyone (fifty of us) sat in a circle
and did a “pass the parcel” with gifts for the lucky ones (ahem)
and forfeits for the not so lucky. “Daddies Little Angel TM”
had a forfeit in which she had to name the seven dwarves. I helped. Between
us we got Grumpy, Sleepy, Dozy, Spacky, Knuckles, Wazzer and
Hugs and kisses and goodbyes took a while. I see all my
kiting friends maybe half a dozen times a year – we all live so far apart
from each other, and every time we meet up is
special. Pausing only briefly to drop “Daddies Little Angel TM”
with friends in
A minor disaster this morning. I plugged in my USB Xmas tree lights and got a message pop-up on the screen to say that they had malfunctioned. I was gripped with panic. I’ve seen malfunctions on Star Trek, and they aren’t a pretty sight. This morning’s malfunction was a bit of a disappointment in comparison. But, rising above such misfortune, ‘er indoors TM wanted to go into town. I made a point of walking right up the middle of the “shared area” in which cars and pedestrians co-habit in peace. Cars came up from behind at all angles. It can only be a matter of time until someone is mowed down.
We went shopping. Shopping. I hate shopping. I can stand in the doorway of a shop, any shop, and within five seconds I have seen all that the shop has to offer. There are others that have to scrutinise every single item on every single shelf before deciding they will go to Tesco and buy socks instead. And then we saw the Polar Bear. Because it’s Xmas, some “Fit Bird TM” was doing a show with an animatronic Polar Bear. It all seemed very entertaining, but it was a shame that because of the totally rubbish PA system, it was impossible to hear a word that the “Fit Bird TM” was saying. Which was probably for the best. There is only so much amusement that can be got from watching small children crying in terror at an animatronic Polar Bear, and after fifteen minutes we gave up and went to McDonalds….
Meanwhile there have been aspersions cast about how un-froglike the lego frogman is. Today he was upgraded with a life belt, flippers and a flag. I can’t actually see the relevance of the flag myself, but in frog circles it would seem the flag acts as a chick magnet. I bet she still won’t share her ice cream though.
15 December 2008 (Monday) - Tesco
Whilst not due in to work till late morning, I was taking no chances. Bearing in mind the amount of sickness we’d had last week I was washed, shaved & breakfasted in time for the 9am phone call to tell me that no one had turned up for work. Fortunately that call never came. I was an hour late getting out at he end of the day, but that’s another rant….
Whilst clearing out an infestation or orcs and trolls in NeverWinter, “Daddies Little Angel TM” turned on the charm. She’d decided what she wanted for Xmas. Bearing in mind I’ve absolutely no idea what ‘er indoors TM wants and have wasted a fortune on stuff she’ll probably stick in the bin, being told what someone wants for a present comes as a blessed relief. (Cue the advert for the Facebook group).
Later this week we’ve an Xmas buffet at work, so I thought I’d get the bottles of pop & cheesy puffs this morning. I must stop going to Tescos – I get so wound up. First of all you have to negotiate your way through the swarms of Polish car-washers. Today I succumbed and agreed to let one do my car. Then into Tescos where you have to fight your way through the hoards. I wouldn’t mind so much if the hoards were actually moving. But they weren’t. They’d strategically placed an epically posteriored fat biddy in front of everything I wanted to get to. And the checkouts. I’m going to suggest to Tesco’s management that they have a checkout especially for people like me who want to buy their groceries and get on with it without farting about. Why do I always pick the queue with the lonely old bat who wants a conversation with the checkout girl? Or the one with the pikey who’s taken the “money off” stickers off of every item he can find and stuck them onto what he wants? Or the one with the twonk who’s printed off her home-made “money off” vouchers (and seriously expects the checkout girl to take them)? Or today’s one who must have bought between ten and fifteen thousand pounds worth of stuff and was picking through her receipt, item by item, and haggling over trivialities?
And then to get my car. I’d stumped up seven quid for a hand car wash. Though to be honest I would have probably got a better wash if I’d left the thing in the rain….
Meanwhile the lego frogman has obtained a sub-aqua appurtenance with which he is attempting to impress the girlie-type. She might be impressed, but not impressed enough to release the grip on her ice cream.
16 December 2008 (Tuesday) - A Bit Tired
Due to various unforeseen disasters I didn’t get out of work until 9pm last night. And then I was called back in less than two hours later. To bed at 3.30am this morning. I had this plan to sleep in and go in to work later, but going to sleep isn’t like switching off. It would have been so good to have been able to sleep in today, but by 9am I was wide awake, and then spent the rest of the day feeling grim.
Fortunately this evening I found something to buck me up. Shaun the Sheep cartoons. How can I not have seen these before? Even the news about girlie types running round the kitchen in the nip wasn’t enough to distract me.
Meanwhile in another world the absence of the fireman has been noticed. Especially as the barby has now burst into flames. One wonders who the officious looking person with the camera is?
Moustache update Sixteen days and everyone’s forgotten about the thing. There is still some money to be collected, but this morning I PayPal-ed in over £150 to the fund. So far the grand total raised stands at £187. It’s still not too late to donate on-line you know. And you can still see the album here too.
17 December 2008 (Wednesday) - Brace Yourself, Santa
Anyone who’s ever accompanied me on one of my rather infrequent trips to a public house will probably know that I tend not to drink in Shepherd Neame pubs. The reason being that they all do the same beer and never have a guest ale on. However from December to February different rules apply. That’s when Shepherd Neame’s porter is available. Oh – that stuff is like nectar. Or so some might argue. Others would disagree. However on a less subjective note the porter is like rocking horse poo in that it’s incredibly rare. I’ve only ever seen it in one pub. Asking around in various hostelries over the summer, I haven’t been able to find any pubs that planned to have it on over the winter. Al the publicans I spoke with were of the same mind - there is (amazingly) no demand for it. So today I phoned the brewery and asked where I can get their porter. I was rather glibly told that I could get the stuff in any Shepherd Neame pub. I explained that I’d done my homework and that no one sold the stuff. A rather surprised secretary passed me on to someone more senior who said he’d look into it and email me a complete list of pubs in my area that did have it in. Within the hour the list arrived. Now bearing in mind the pretty much every other pub in the county is owned by Shepherd Neame, I was somewhat disappointed to be given a list of three pubs. So, providing I can drum up a contingent of like minded chums, this weekend I shall be off to Brabourne Lees, Mersham and Aldington.
And so to work. Where we had the works Xmas buffet and a visit from Santa. He was a bit of a beast, that Santa. His hands were everywhere! But he came up trumps with the pressie - I got four bottles of beer. Two of which were brewed by Shepherd Neame.
Meanwhile in another dimension a lonely fellow is lurking around a lamppost. One suspects the worst.
18 December 2008 (Thursday) - Really Dull
I was up at 6am and ironing shirts. Rather dull, but such is life. And then to work via Tescos to get some tins of sweeties. Quality Street is always popular this time of year. Went to work. Did my bit. Came home again. Such is life. Today was one of those dull days when there really wasn’t much more to say than that. Fortunately these dull days don’t happen very often.
Meanwhile back at the lamp post the worst has happened….
19 December 2008 (Friday) - A Day Off
It makes a novel change for me not to be working till 8pm on a Friday –today I had a day off work. But I was still up at 7.30am dealing with laundry and washing up. A quick trip to the bank for the astronomy club’s accounts and then back home again by 9.30am. Because I’m on leave, a visit to the tip is obligatory. There is a limit to how much clutter one can have filling a house, and I completely filled my car with bin bags for a tip run. But the house still looks every bit as full of rubbish as it did before I went.
And then to Tesco. I’d been given a shopping list (Pah!). Guess what - I found yet another category of retard to wind me up: the “loveable old rogue who is saucy with the checkout girls”. But this time it wasn’t just me getting wound up. This silly old fellow was going to all the tills and attempting to goose up all the till operatives. Now in certain circles it could be argued that there is something to be said for a good goosing. But not when Tescos is at a standstill whilst said goosing proceeds. Oh,… people weren’t happy with this one.
And then home via the corner shop for a sandwich for
dinner. They do a good sandwich at Key Stores, and only 99p too. On the way I
met an ex-cub’s mother. I asked after young Chris. I can remember collecting
him and going with him on the bus to Hothfield for
a cub event once. And another time he came on a weekend sleepover in
And then home. To the ironing. Tons of it whilst watching Doctor Who DVDs. You can’t beat a bit of Patrick Troughton. If I have a day off work it always follows the same format. Rubbish to the tip and then ironing. I must love it(!)
I then did some research for the weekend. I mentioned a few days ago about there being three pubs in the area that had Shepherd Neame’s porter on. Well, perhaps I’d better qualify that. There were three pubs in the area that had ordered a barrel of the stuff. Two have already sold out of it and have no intentions of getting in any more. So if any of my loyal readers fancy a pint tomorrow, the provisional plans have gone somewhat awry. But then, most plans do. We can either go to Aldington and stay put. Or we could go to Tenterden where girlie-types could soak up the Xmas ambience and go shopping whilst I go to a pub I’ve found there (the Vine) and soak up the porter.
Meanwhile elsewhere the lego cat would seem to be having problems. Having been rescued from the tree, it’s now being flambéed by a dubious looking construction worker.
20 December 2008 (Saturday) - Tenterden (and the porter)
Yesterday evening was somewhat traumatic for me. What with ‘er indoors TM and “My Boy TM” being at works Xmas bashes and “Daddies Little Angel TM” being out with friends, I was looking forward to a peaceful evening at home on my own. They say that God laughs when we make plans.
“My Boy TM” came home somewhat the worse for wear at 5pm. He put on one of his slippers, announced he was going home and vanished off out again. I watched him staggering up the road, cuddling passing pedestrians. He came back ten minutes later for a can of lager. Broadcasting to the world that he had “places to be, people to see” he vanished again. He was back within five minutes to find the can of lager he’d left behind, and then he fell asleep in the toilet. He then asked how long it would be before we went home, and he phoned for a taxi so’s he could get to the kebab shop. Ten minutes later he was back again and shouting down the phone at his mate’s mother. He then set off to visit this mate’s mother for an Xmas drink, telling me that I didn’t need to wait up and I should go to bed. He seemed oblivious to the fact that it was only 7pm. I rather lost track of what he got up to after that. He was in and out of the house so many times, leaving for the last time at 8.30pm. And he was absolutely convinced he’d got in from the works Xmas do only ten minutes before. So, bearing in mind the state he was in last night, what on earth was he doing “coming home quietly” at 9am this morning?
And then to Tenterden for the
afternoon. The Vine Inn had the porter on. And another new
ale – the
Meanwhile ‘er with the lego ice cream is speeding to the lego cat’s rescue. One wonders if she realises that it is normal practice for lego vehicles to have wheels?
21 December 2008 (Sunday) - Dull Sunday
I saw something on the news yesterday which was rather alarming. Basically using in-vitro fertilisation technology (test tube babies) it’s possible to grow up a batch of embryos, screen these embryos for all sorts of diseases and medical predispositions and then pick and choose which one(s) will be allowed to live. In the past this has been standard practice for prospective parents who carry genes for cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease, thalassaemia or sickle cell disease. In these cases science is ensuring a baby won’t be born with a life long disease. How is today’s case different? Here science isn’t screening against a disease, rather than against the likelihood of a disease. Ensuring a child with a given disease won’t be born is one thing. Creating a child with a probability of not contracting a disease is… different, and I believe has opened a moral floodgate. The logical extension of this is quite scary. The technology exists to screen for all sorts of genetic tendencies. Should we be creating a cleverer, more intelligent, fitter humanity? And how long will it be before we are screening against creating fat and bald people?
Anyway, back at the ranch I staggered out of my pit at 11am, and me and ‘er indoors TM had some McDinner and then went shopping for some last minute bits. Firstly to Tesco, which has been blogged to death recently. And then to Sainsbury’s which has much the same stuff as Tesco’s but seems not to attract what I can only describe as the “pikey retard element”. Bearing in mind the beer selection is also better, I shall be going to Sainsbury’s from now on. Whilst leaving the car park a passing “normal person” pointed out that one of the tyres was flat. That was odd. Yesterday Martin had phoned to say we had a flat tyre, but on inspection they all looked OK. But this one had a nail in it. To Kwik-Fit who fixed it and gave us change out of twenty quid. I was impressed.
Meanwhile there is a bit of a conundrum over in lego world. Heads are being scratched as the cast of our advent calendar try to puzzle out what on earth today’s thingy is supposed to be. However, whilst they are pondering the matter, the cat is still frying.
22 December 2008 (Monday) - Stuff
It’s occurred to me that this year we haven’t had the obligatory “In-Laws Family Xmas Reunion in Overpriced Pretentious Restaurant”. With only three days to go until Xmas, let’s hope that this year the thing gets given a miss. Oh, I’m so negative about these re-unions. I suppose they aren’t all bad, but they are not cheap, and I don’t suppose any of them would choose me for a dining companion anyway.
And then I see one of my TV heroes has died. A shame really. She was in more of the Star Trek incarnations than any other actor, and I now feel rather guilty about not caring for any of her performances.
To astronomy club. A year ago the thing was moribund. Now it’s booming. Tonight was an informal Xmas party with over twenty people along. Most people brought along a plate of some assorted scoffs, some good ideas were aired to raise money to pay for the hire of the hall. And then Jason gave a talk about the lives of stars. Fascinating. And the new club telescope was on display. Several hundred quids worth of telescope paid for by donations to the club. Can’t be bad ! There is now a great gamble being taken with the club. The Stanhope hall isn’t the easiest of places to find, and it certainly isn’t the best of places for looking at the sky. And after all is said and done, it’s Stanhope. From next month the club is moving to Woodchurch. Which is much better for telescope stuff, but it is a little way out of Ashford. Will that put people off? The vast majority of the membership drives to the club anyway, and I can give people a lift out there easily enough. Time will tell – it usually does.
And in another plane of existence lego Benny from Crossroads has appeared. But is he here to rescue the lego cat or to menace it some more…?
23 December 2008 (Tuesday) - More Stuff
A late start today, so the plan was for a bit of a lie in. Unfortunately ‘er indoors TM was “quietly” getting ready for work. Now I know where “My Boy TM” gets his stealthy tendencies from. It was just as well that I got up when I did – the astronomy club accounts needed a quick once-over (don’t we all), and before I knew it I was nearly late to work.
And then in the news….. today it would seem that stupidity rules. First off there is the chap from down under who not only got his kite tangled in overhead electricity cables, but then tried to untangle it by poking it with a metal pole. And then came the rather worrying news that a third of UK science teachers feel that Creationism should be taught in schools rather than evolutionary theories, even though it’s been discredited, and not given serious consideration by many main-stream religious types of my acquaintance.
Talking of religious bods, I see the Pope has come out with a classic today. Apparently rather than worrying about protecting the rain forests, in order to save the world we should be having a pop at the gay community. Now it strikes me that with an unsupportably large world population which is still growing, promoting the gay lifestyle might be just the thing to counter global over-population, but what do I know? I’m reminded of a crackpot who had killed off all my work-related google groups with his obsession that God made all the elements except iron (which was made by him downstairs), and that iron is the cause of all human disease and suffering. Or another chap I once knew who ascribed everything good in his world to divine intervention, and everything bad to mere chance and bad luck. What I describe as “the religious argument” is so dangerous. No matter how hare-brained and implausible the proposition that is put forward, the moment some form of religious belief is attached to that position, no one dares question it.
One wonders if Yahoo will pull this blog entry because I might possibly have offended someone’s sentiments.
Meanwhile, fed up with waiting to be saved, the lego cat has effected its own rescue.
24 December 2008 (Xmas Eve) - Xmas Eve
Despite the rest of the universe now being on holiday, I’m still expected to work (sulk mode). A late start, but like most Wednesdays I was up super-early. Having recorded “Survivors” the previous evening, I’ve taken to getting up early so as to watch the programme in some peace and quiet. The first season of the re-made “Survivors” has now finished. A re-make of the series from thirty years ago in which most of humanity had perished from disease, and those remaining are making the most of what’s left. Now the thing has finished, I can’t help but compare it to the original. Admittedly this most recent offering was only six episodes compared to thirty eight over three seasons. But it lacked a certain something. Given that society has collapsed, where would you get your daily food and drink? One of the characters had four chickens, but that was the only reference to the nuts and bolts of daily living. In the seventies series there was a much larger group of people, many of whom were entirely devoted to feeding the group. And the programme was very much about how the group lived from day to day. When they travelled away from home it was for a reason, not just because it would make a handy plot device. And the squabbling – admittedly some confrontation makes good TV, but in a total anarchy there is no need to remain with people you can’t stand. And the locations – given that humanity has all but died away it doesn’t mean the world will be any safer. There will still be hungry dogs for a start. Why does no one ever take up residence in a castle? But all things considered, I liked the show, and I’m reliably informed there will be a second series.
A sad tale from
To work – and I was there until 8pm. I was hoping to have got away earlier, but the night shift made a point of not coming in early in order to spite the management, and seemed disappointed and surprised that those managers they wanted to spite had gone home several hours before. I now start my standard Xmas holiday routine, which follows the same old pattern of waiting for others to get out of bed, driving to be civil to people I barely know, and going back to work two days later….
And in the last window of the lego advent calendar we have a girlie-type and a snowman. This girlie-type isn’t filling her face with ice-cream…..
25 December 2008 (Xmas Day)
I was up and about before 7am, and patiently waiting for others to get up. Little did I know that not only was “My Boy TM” up and about, he’d not even got as far as bed yet. He was rather fragile this morning. This year was surprising because no one needed urging out of their pits. In previous years I’ve taken to going round the house on Xmas morning banging saucepans together to wake people. People must have learned their lessons because today everyone got up themselves.
A decent haul of pressies, and
All walkers should be rewarded with a crafty half in the
pub, and even though it’s Xmas, today is no exception.
More food, and more drink, and more food and more drink before finally setting off for home some time in the late evening. A good time was had by all – must do it again some time…..
26 December 2008 (Boxing Day)
I was again up and about before 7am, and patiently waiting for others to get up. Today we were only forty minutes getting away, and a day was pleasantly spent playing Blokus, watching Mario Kart on the Game Cube and eating to excess again. As always I spent most of the day asleep. I really resent the continually falling asleep, and I *really* hate the being poked by people who think it’s a great joke to poke someone who’s nodded off.
And so home – an evening of telly. First of all the Doctor Who special. Arguably the worst ever Doctor Who program I have ever seen. The new “Wallace & Gromit” which, bearing in mind how much I liked “Shaun the Sheep”, was something of a disappointment. And the Spider Man 3 film, which was OK, but in my humble opinion might have benefited from having a plot. All things considered, none of the “Xmas specials” measured up to re-runs of “On The Buses” movies that were on last weekend. A sad indictment for today’s television…..
27 December 2008 (Saturday) - Yet More Scoffing
Once more up and about before 7am, but this morning I was off to work. Pausing only briefly in Tesco’s for the obligatory doughnuts, I was soon making the most of one of the advantages of working in a hospital - going gooey over my latest new friend. Bubs are sweet when they are born, but there’s then a rather awkward 20+ years until they leave home. Not that I want to put the new parents off…
Work was done by mid day, and then it was home for family Xmas round 3. Having been to my brother’s on Xmas day and mum’s on boxing day, everyone came to us today. It was great – a roast dinner, pudding, silly games, beer, tea, more fun, and even “dog Nintendo”. It’s amazing how much fun you can have getting a dog to chase a laser spot.
But it has to be said, I’m now quite exhausted after this three day marathon of eating and drinking. I could now do with a rest.
28 December 2008 (Sunday) - 1066 And All That
It’s no secret that many of my bestest friends live too far away. Today we met up
with some at a point mid way between us. For someone born and bred in
By now it was well past dinner time, and having been to
Tonight the bowling alley had put on a special event for members of the bowling league, and their families and friends. Three games of bowling and a buffet, and reduced prices at the bar. Our party of a dozen featured three bowlers (and a reserve), and between us we must have numbered at least half of the total number of people taking up this offer. I felt rather sorry for the people who’d gone to the effort to put the event on. They had made such an effort, and so few people had taken up the offer. I can’t admit to being a fan of bowling, but I enjoyed myself, even if I did have the sides of the bowling lanes up. There are only so many balls you can throw straight down the gutters….
29 December 2008 (Monday) - Getting Back to Normality
I woke up this morning with the most awful backache. I can
only imagine I did something wrong last night whilst bowling. I doubt I did
anything right. I wasn’t woken by the sounds of “My Boy TM” leaving quietly. I expect he got off
OK – him and “Pieman” are going to
I sent off an email to English Heritage today complaining about the “hard sell” attitude of their staff – I suspect I will get a “hard sell” email back. We shall see. After an hour wasted in NeverWinter the ice was scraped off of the car and then via Tesco’s to work. And then home again and watched “Superman Returns”. Rather a let down. So far I’ve watched less than half a dozen “Xmas special” programs and I have been disappointed with the lot. Sometimes I wonder why so many people do nothing but stare at the telly all the time….
30 December 2008 (Tuesday) - A Rant (sorry)
I read what was intended to be a shocking news item today. The article was written in such a way as to highlight a disgraceful waste of money in the NHS. It’s a shame it was clearly written by someone who doesn’t actually seem to know much about health care. Modern medicine in based on the principle of “evidence-based practice”. In layman’s terms that means using what actually works (as opposed to relying on old wives tales). To take an example from my own experience: as a child I suffered from nose bleeds. So did my father, brother and several uncles and aunts. And also “My Boy TM” and to a lesser extent did “Daddies Little Angel TM”. In all our experience, there is no cure which works any better or faster than sitting quietly with a bit of bog roll shoved up your nose. But all of us have for years lived in terror of passing first aiders, all of whom have their pet cure for nose bleeds. Keys down the neck, ice cubes on the forehead, wet towels on the neck, pinching the nose, head forwards, head back. None of them work. I know that because of “evidence-based practice”. I’ve tried them and watched them fail. But still itinerant first-aiders (who have never actually had a nose bleed themselves foist these old wives tales onto their victims. For no other reason than that they were told it works by someone else who was equally ignorant.
example is the cure for the eye condition Retinitis Pigmentosa.
A particularly nasty condition in which the sufferer becomes progressively more blind. There is no cure. Or that is to say there is
no cure that actually works, but during the 70s many people were conned out
of thousands of pounds by crackpots in central
Or the treatment of kidney stones. A chap I once worked with had a kidney stone. I was under the impression that they were broken up by the use of ultrasonic beams. So was he, and indeed people’s stones were zapped with ultrasonics for years until the advent of “evidence-based practice”. When it was found that the technique, whilst in no way harmful, didn’t actually do what it was supposed to.
So, back to the news article. We as a bunch of tax payers have shipped three medical professionals half way round the world as cheaply as we can, and have provided the cheapest possible accommodation. So that we as a bunch of tax payers can benefit from the experience of the best medical brains in the world and have the opportunity to improve our health care. It’s odd how news-types will herald medical breakthroughs from around the world, but criticise the health professions when they try to take advantage of the new-found knowledge.
31 December 2008 (Wednesday) - New Years Eve
Over the years I seem to have developed all sorts of
traditional annual events. One of which is the New Years Eve party with the
Hose-Beast. Loads of food, silly games, doing the grapes (!), and the Spanish
telly. I might not have understood what the Spanish TV show was actually
saying, but it was pretty clear that they were having a good time. Being an
hour ahead, we celebrated Spanish New Year at 11pm, and then over to British
TV for the UK New Year. And we switched straight back to Spanish. Heaven only
knows what the UK TV people were thinking, but they were showing the most
miserable, depressing rubbish. They had the bloke who did the Star Trek
Enterprise theme song singing what I can only describe as a funeral dirge.
Awful!. And to think that there are a lot of people
And once it was officially 2009 we watched and squalled along to “Mamma Mia” until gone 2pm. That’s on my DVD “want list” now……