01 October 2008 (Wednesday) - Old Age, Accounts, Fish and Dog Borstal

01 October 2008 (Wednesday) - Old Age, Accounts, Fish and Dog Borstalmagnify

One of my team asked me if I’d like a longer tea break today. And how many sugars I’d like in my coffee. And took the trouble to make sure I was comfortable. She then told me she was doing so under the orders of the most important person on the planet – the Secretary-General of the United Nations. And why should such an august personage care about me? Because it’s International Help an Old Person Day today. Earlier in the day the same girl had asked me about a decent pub in Ashford for a meal. I’d already given her directions to the Riverside. Next time she asks, I’ll send her to the Crusader.

I’ve been through the scout accounts for the last time. If it’s still wrong, the accountants can kiss my furry yellow ass. Not a standard procedure in accountancy, I admit. But one which should prove effective. I shall await developments with baited breath. And baited ass.

A family catastrophe – my sucking loach is apparently picking on my daughter’s frog. “Daddies Little Angel TM” has had words to say on the subject. And then we sat down to watch “Dog Borstal”. These long winter evenings just fly by….

 

02 October 2008 (Thursday) - The Credit Crunch

02 October 2008 (Thursday) - The Credit Crunchmagnify

Driving home from Canterbury I was amazed by the news. A year ago, Northern Rock had gone belly-up and needed endless subsidies from the tax payer. Today they can’t beat custom off with a sh*tty stick. What’s that all about? In all honesty, what does it matter how much my house is worth. So what if it’s quadrupled in value? What actual value is that to me unless I sell the thing and set up in a tent somewhere?

And whilst I’m on the subject of the credit crunch, the God-botherers have figured out that economic recession make the proles eat less healthily. They claim that it doesn’t help that kiddies can relate to Tony the Tiger, Snap, Crackle and Pop, the really annoying monkey that flogs coco-pops, and various other cartoon characters.

What a load of old rubbish. Surely it wouldn’t take too much effort for the cabbage marketing board to come up with “Lettie the Lettuce” dolls free with every salad. Or they might go for the more macho end of the market with a catchy slogan “Don’t be a daft git, eat broccoli”. Or come up with an advert featuring the Sugar Puffs Honey Monster getting its chuff firmly booted by a radish. Perhaps I should do their marketing for them……

 

03 October 2008 (Friday) - A Bit Of A Rant (Sorry)

During the late 70s I joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Mainly because I was concerned that the world was going to get blown away by idiot politicians. My Dad laughed at me and said the whole thing was stupid. It transpires that the BBC had made plans for what to do should the bomb have gone off. I wasn’t alone in fearing that the worst might happen.

I didn’t stay with CND for long. It soon became overrun by the loony lefties. And today some loony left wing namby-pamby idiot teachers have decided not to give their pupils spelling tests any more because it upsets the children, and gives them a sense of failure if they don’t do well, They will have far more of a sense of failure when their resultant illiteracy leaves them unemployable and they have a lifetime doomed to street sweeping and toilet cleaning.

And then to the scout hut - as a fundraiser we had a choc-o-holics evening. Loads of chocolate to buy and scoff, and catalogues to order choccy pressies for Xmas. We had a rather disappointing turn-out. About twenty people. But if you took away the leaders, and families of leaders, there wouldn’t be anyone left. There’s about eighty youngsters in the group, in Beavers, Cubs and Scouts; the evening was to raise money for them, and not one family showed up. To be fair, one lot had said that they were going away for the weekend, and had sent in an order already. And we did have a pleasant evening laughing and chatting. But for a fundraiser…. As I’ve said before I resent giving up my time and money to fundraise. I can’t help but feel its time to abandon all fundraising at the scout group and triple the subs…

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04 October 2008 (Saturday) - Our Twenty-Second Wedding Anniversary

04 October 2008 (Saturday) - Our Twenty-Second Wedding Anniversarymagnify

Breakfast in bed – must be a special occasion.

We’ve a Halloween party in a few weeks’ time, so a few minutes were spent in the fancy dress shop. I’ve got this idea about getting myself a gorilla costume, but needless to say, it would seem that the fancy dress trade doesn’t cater for the more rotund gentleman.

And then it was to the Mundy Bois where we were treated to dinner for some reason. A decent bit of scoff, and following a crafty pint in the Black Horse on the way home, we settled in front of the telly for a five hour epic “Tin Man – a – thon”. One of the advantages of recording it all on Sky-Plus is that you can fast-forward through the adverts and reduce six hours telly to five. An excellent re-make of “The Wizard of Oz”, I can see myself watching this one time and again.

Pausing only briefly for a swift curry we then watched “The Full Monty”. All things considered, a good day, even if I didn’t get a lame card…..

 

05 October 2008 (Sunday) - Pouring With Rain

05 October 2008 (Sunday) - Pouring With Rainmagnify

I got invited to join a Facebook group today – on the one hand I can’t help but feel it’s too early to start worrying about Xmas. On the other hand, it has to be said that a lot of unwanted Xmas junk merely goes up on eBay. So perhaps writing an Xmas list might be a good idea. One lot of Xmas junk that caught my eye today was the Lego Star Wars Death Star. A bargain at only £275. Who on earth can afford this?

Whilst on the subject of Facebook and Yuletide, I’ve been tagged in some photos. Some of which I’ve absolutely no memory at all. It’s amazing what you miss when you’re not paying attention. I don’t remember ever doing balloon animals at the in-laws at Xmas.

The afternoon featured a trip to the scout hut. They were having an afternoon showing photos from the recent Alaskan trip. It looked like they’d had a good time. But when asked if I was sorry to have missed the trip, I stopped and thought. When I looked at which of the kids had gone, I think I was sensible to have given this trip a miss. There were some that are good youngsters, and I’d happily take them away. And there were those that are only happy when they are making everyone else’s life a misery. There’s talk of going to Washington DC & the Grand Canyon in 2012. They can talk. I’m not paying thousands of pounds and giving up three weeks of my leave to child-mind the problem ones.

Seeing as it’s been raining all day, I’ve done little more than wander round NeverWinter, in between worrying about the leaking roof. I really ought to see about getting it fixed. So I tried to get in touch with an ex-cub who’s now a roofer. He didn’t actually tell me to @$!k off, but I was definitely reminded of the final rule of acquisition – no good deed goes unpunished…

 

06 October 2008 (Monday) - The News

06 October 2008 (Monday) - The Newsmagnify

Something else for the loony lefties to get their politically correct teeth into. Over the weekend a sheep ran amok on a main road. Have you ever tried to round up a sheep, especially when it’s either scared or wants to do it’s own thing? The local copper came along and zapped it with a tazer. Having knocked the thing out, he then carried it back to where it should be, and everyone was happy. Except the loony lefties. Presumably this interfered with the animal’s inalienable rights to do what it likes?

Talking of loony, I see Pizza Hut is no more. It is to be re-born as “Pasta Hut”. Good grief ! Just think how much the change of name on all the shop fronts will cost, to say nothing of the menus etc. And they say money is tight…..

 

07 October 2008 (Tuesday) - Enough !

07 October 2008 (Tuesday) - Enough !magnify

Billy” wanted to gain his “Collector” badge tonight. He brought in his Doctor Who trading cards, and the script for a talk he planned to give on the subject. He started his talk, and after ten seconds I had to bellow for silence because the other cubs were too rude to shut up and listen to him. He explained about the “sidekick paper” and again I had to bellow for silence. And then he tried to explain about “Astormonite” cards, not that anyone could hear him over the noise of those who would rather talk amongst themselves. After five minutes we gave up. But I gave him the badge – he’d made the effort.

And then we played some games. If the cubs had shut up long enough to listen to the rules we could have played more. And then I explained about what I have planned for next week – a trip to the pet shop. I then told the problem ones, by name, that I expected better behaviour from them next week, but when I reached the sixth one, the first had started talking again.

In years gone by I would make great plans for cubs on a Tuesday night, we’d do all sorts of things, go to all sorts of places, have weekends away, and have fun. For the last year I’ve trolled along to the scout hut on a Tuesday (usually arriving late) expecting the evening to be little more than a waste of my time, and finding the evening does nothing more than wind me up. No matter what we try to do, there is a hard core of half a dozen kids who talk, muck about, distract and generally bend over backwards to sabotage what is going on. With these half-dozen gone, the rest aren’t a bad bunch. But whilst we’re dealing with the little turds, the decent kids get bored and then start playing up themselves.

The whole thing is a vicious circle and tonight was no exception, except that it was the last time that I’m going to put up with it. I came home afterwards, snapped at family and friends, and rather than going out with my mates to watch videos, I went back to the scout hut and told our Group Scout Leader to stick it.

I’ve agreed to go along on the trip to the pet shop next week, and there is a coach trip in a few weeks that I agreed to some time ago, but after next Tuesday we’ve agreed that I will “take time out”. I would like to go back after a few weeks off, I really would. The Scout Association is a wonderful idea and I want to be part of it. But unless the behaviour improves beyond all recognition, I am not going to continue wasting my time.

 

08 October 2008 (Wednesday) - Serviced Boilers

08 October 2008 (Wednesday) - Serviced Boilersmagnify

Out of interest I went through my blog archive today – my first rant about cubs being a waste of my time was two years ago in October 2006. Having been threatening to jack it all in at cubs for over two years, having finally done so has come as a relief. I feel as though a great weight has been taken off of my shoulders.

Charlotte is now on Facebook. I spent a pleasant half an hour sending her ninja thwacks and dubious videos. After all, what else is the Internet for when you’re only fourteen. Fourteen? I see Charlotte as something of a kindred spirit. I’m getting old!

The central heating man came today and serviced my boiler (!) That saved me a job. Not bad for nearly one hundred and fifty quid. The chap was full of praise for our bit that broke – he says that they don’t make them like that any more. I should hope not – the thing’s broke. All I need now is to fix the roof and I’ll be destitute. We’ll gloss over the Sky Plus box being on the blink and the mice, shall we…..

 

09 October 2008 (Thursday) - Builders, Laundry, Smacked Brats and a Joddrell

09 October 2008 (Thursday) - Builders, Laundry, Smacked Brats and a Joddrellmagnify

A day off work – even though I was laying awake from 3am worrying about the place. All things considered it was really a day’s holiday wasted. I got the washing basket emptied, if nothing else. And then “My Boy TM” went and filled it again. And I did the ironing too - you can get too much of a good thing. I had taken the day off work so that a builder would come and fix the roof. Having failed to show up yesterday, he said he’d be along shortly before 9am today. I phoned him at 10.30am to be told he was just getting into his car, and he’d be along in twenty minutes. Guess what time he arrived. That’s right. He didn’t turn up at all.

I then had a rummage round the Yellow Pages and the Internet to see if I could find another builder. Oh, there are loads of them listed. But some don’t have working phone lines, some have moved on, one had a phone number that didn’t take incoming calls (!) and those builders that are contactable won’t get out of bed for any job smaller than building a new housing estate. I managed to find one who said she’d get them to phone me back later. Here’s hoping.

I see that for once, common sense has prevailed in Parliament. A move to get smacking children made illegal has failed. Good! Children's rights campaigners have said Government ministers should be ashamed. I can’t help but feel that these do-gooders need to wake up and have a look at the world around them. In my experience there are two types of people who advocate against corporal punishment for children. Those with no experience whatsoever of children, and those with the nastiest, most ill-behaved brats you ever did see.

And even more sense – the government plans to keep Joddrell Bank open, despite various pressures for it to close. I once missed the opportunity for a day trip to the place, you know.

 

10 October 2008 (Friday) - On The Beer in Folkestone

10 October 2008 (Friday) - On The Beer in Folkestonemagnify

The seat of my kharsi has come adrift from its moorings. I suppose it’s amazing it’s lasted as well, bearing in mind it’s had the epic posterior of er indoors TM to contend with for all these years. Another building job…. Still, the builders phoned this morning. Busy today, they will be in touch on Sunday. And then to Folkestone. Having been planning a booze up for today for some time, it was a shame to have the main protagonist pull out at short notice, but we saw off half a dozen pubs:

The Richmond

Billed as the smallest pub in Folkestone, the place was closed when we visited.

The Ship

Found totally by chance down by the harbour, the place is a storming place to be. A wonderful view of the harbour, but I can imagine it heaving with tourists over the summer. 6/10

The Lifeboat

Somewhere of which I’ve heard good reports, and the main reason for choosing Folkestone to be the town for our crawl today. The place was closed.

The George

No hand pumps, but Whitbread Best on tap. A smashing place at the end of Tontine Street, and a lovely terrace in which to sit and watch the world go by. But clearly somewhere that depends on the tourist trade. Despite the best efforts of the “duckie” that runs the place, it could do better. 4/10

The Harbour

No hand pumps, and no redeeming features. But also could do better. 4/10

The Guildhall

Four ales on. Whilst clearly a “locals pub”, you don’t feel unwelcome in there. The only thing I would say against the place is that it is only the second-best pub in Folkestone. 8/10

The British Lion

Four ales on – two of which I’d never seen before. And chillied pickled eggs too. We stayed in this place for quite a while. Chatting to the barman it transpires this place co-ordinates it’s beer list with the Guildhall down the road to cater for those who visit the town for a pub crawl. Nice to know someone’s thinking of me… 8/10

The Chambers

Folkestone’s best pub, and (well deserved) CAMRA ‘s local branch pub of the year. Following a few visits to this place, it’s joined that hallowed group of hostelries that get 9/10.

The Happy Frenchman

Has recently re-opened having been closed for a while. Shame. It was better closed. 3/10

And then home via McDonalds. A crafty kip on the train, and on the stagger home I met up with Frankie-Doodle. An ex-cub with more money than sense who is a roofer. I bent his ear about my problems, and he says he’ll come round over the next few days.

And then I fell down the stairs. Whilst nothing is broken, my left ankle isn’t what it once was…

 

 

11 October 2008 (Saturday) - Ice Cream in Eastbourne

11 October 2008 (Saturday) - Ice Cream in Eastbournemagnify

Not a good night’s sleep – my left ankle’s somewhat tender, and every twitch overnight set it off. But to make up for my discomfort, the morning’s flurry of emails brought one from Basil Golden (whoever he may be). He has given me the opportunity to “Power up your seeex skills by upsizing your man pole”. That’s nice of Basil.

To Eastbourne for a birthday. Via Hastings Old Town for a spot of scoff in the FILO. Broccoli and Stilton soup washed down with a pint of Ginger Tom. Heaven!

And then to Eastbourne for an ice cream. There’s an ice cream parlour in Eastbourne that does some seriously good bits of dairy-related desserts. Since the parking was bad, those with gammy legs were dropped off whilst those that can (still) walk went to park the car. Whilst waiting, we scoffed an ice cream to pass the time. And when the birthday girl and the drivers arrived we had more (and more) ice cream. And some cheesy chips before setting off to the shops. By now my ankle was beginning to play up a bit, but help was at hand. The shop over the road was selling walking sticks for less than three quid, so once tackled up with my “crip stick” I valiantly hobbled to the fancy dress shop where I got my gear for the Halloween party.

You know, it’s a trite saying that you don’t realise what you’ve got until it’s gone. But it is very true. I am desperately hoping that the standard action of my left ankle hasn’t actually gone, but is just having a few days off. But I am suffering, and am seriously missing normal ankular function….

 

12 October 2008 (Sunday) - Bored in Ashford

12 October 2008 (Sunday) - Bored in Ashfordmagnify

I can now walk (after a fashion) but waddling all around Kings Wood was just a bit too adventurous for now. So whilst er indoors TM and others set off into the wild blue yonder, I mowed the lawn. I say “mowed” – “strimmed” would be a more accurate description. I’ve pretty much given up on the push-along lawn mower.

I’ve also pretty much given up on getting anyone to fix the leaking roof. I’ve had a chat wth a friend who lives a few doors up. I shall borrow his ladder, buy a tin of sealant and have a dob-about myself when I next get a free day. Next Sunday is looking good at this point in time.

And then… the rest of the day was pretty much a non-event. There was talk of visiting in-laws, but they are in Africa at the moment. It’s all right for some! I’ve put the finishing touches to the scouts Alaskan trip account and had a tweak at my presentation for the Astronomy club – I’m talking about Mars in six weeks time. And then I fiddled about in NeverWinter for the afternoon. I hate days like today. I haven’t done anything constructive, and I’m getting fed up with my (literally) lame excuse. Mind you, er indoors TM has found something constructive to do. She volunteered to scrub my sexy new car. Probably for the best – some git came down the road last night and keyed several of the cars that were parked there.

 

13 October 2008 (Monday) - Another Day in the Life

13 October 2008 (Monday) - Another Day in the Lifemagnify

I was rudely awoken at 5am today by what sounded like the entire county of Kent exploding. And then I realised that “My Boy TM” is on earlies this week. I have this mental image of a herd of rampaging buffalo and a herd of stampeding elephants having a competition to see who can make the most noise. And both herds being disappointed to find that their combined din isn’t a patch on “My Boy TM” being quiet. You should hear the racket when he’s being “danilicious” (It’s a Facebook thing!)

A late start, so I spent a pleasant half an hour superpoking Charlotte (another Facebook thing!). I hope she wasn’t too late to school because of me. But one needs to get one’s priorities right, and what can be more important than throwing a Gummi Bear through cyberspace? Then there’s always time to put some washing in – the water input to the poor thing didn’t sound as vigorous as it has been in the past – let’s hope that’s not on the blink too.

Shopping – a trip to Wickes got me some roof sealant, brushes and change out of fifteen quid. Now if I can persuade someone to hold the ladder, or better still, someone to go up the ladder, “Operation Roof” is looking good for Sunday morning.

And I see that Paddington Bear is fifty years old today. I would have thought he was much older than that. A quick squzz on Wikipedia tells me that I must have started reading some of the Paddington books pretty much as they were published. For once in my life I was ahead of the curve…..

 

14 October 2008 (Tuesday) - The Pet Shop

14 October 2008 (Tuesday) - The Pet Shopmagnify

I’d agreed to do one last night at cubs before taking some time out because tonight I’d arranged for us to go to the pet shop. So before we left the scout hut, I gave instructions for what was to happen. In order to get Winston quiet I had to look him in the eye and scream at the top of my voice. There was then one of those embarrassing awkward silences when everyone has shut up and is looking somewhat guilty. I then asked Winston why I had to scream at him to get his attention. He honestly had no idea what I was talking about, and had no idea I’d been failing to get his attention for some five minutes.

So we then walked to the pet shop. Shouting and screaming and dancing onto roads and people’s gardens as we went. We arrived at the pet shop, the nice lady sat the cubs down and spoke for ten minutes about the various animals they had. The kids were good and sat quietly and listened. And then there was a five minute walk around the shop. Some were interested, some played hide and seek, some staged a riot.

The walk back to the scout hut was a repeat performance of the walk up. One of the parent helpers was grumbling about how badly behaved they all were. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d beaten him to jacking it in.

And so…. Is that it? Officially I’m having a few weeks out. I will go back in a month or so. But will I stay? We have half a dozen little turds that are set on doing their own thing at the expense of everyone and everything else around them. We have another half a dozen that are mostly OK, but feel they have to follow the lead of the little turds. And we have twenty kids that want to be there, and join in. I shall see how I feel in a month or so, but at the moment if I am to go back, there is a list of kids that are to be chucked out. No chances, no warnings, just goodbye, and don’t come back….

 

15 October 2008 (Wednesday) - News and Stuff

15 October 2008 (Wednesday) - News and Stuffmagnify

When I was a lad I used to go fishing in a local reservoir. One day my dad announced that I wasn’t to go fishing there any more because it wasn’t safe. I acknowledged this sage parental advice and carried on going fishing there anyway. It transpired that the danger came from a local couple had been playing “bondage games” nearby, and for no adequately explored reason the bloke had left the girl tied to a tree dressed only in racy undercrackers. She was found by local kids who called the police to untie her. I missed all that because I was busy concentrating on my (fishing) tackle. Today’s anglers must be equally intent on their apparatus as kids in the area found a teenager’s body that’s been there for over a year. Surely someone must realise when a youngster goes missing?

Somewhat closer to home, killer whales have been seen off of the coast at Folkestone. To think I had to travel to the Pacific to see them.

And then a visit from Batty and one of the bulls. Or some selected bits of one of the bulls. The freezer is now full, and Trojan’s steaks look rather tasty….

Operation Roofupdate – it’s looking good for Saturday October 25th at 1pm. If you are good with a ladder, know anything about roofing or just fancy a laugh, I wouldn’t miss it.

16 October 2008 (Thursday) - Raising Money for a Good Cause

16 October 2008 (Thursday) - Raising Money for a Good Causemagnify

I may have packed up with cubs, but I can still be public spirited. Whilst at the same time expressing my respect for two of my heroes - Ron Mael and Oliver Hardy. And you, my loyal readership, can join in too. (What's the fat fool up to this time, I hear you ask!)

Next month is Movember, and in Movember, blokes grow a Mo-stache. Great big handlebar thingies, tiddly little Oliver Hardy ones, and everything in between. It's all a good laugh, it's all for charidee. The Charity is prostate cancer, which is one of those things that unfortunately eventually comes to us all. Or those of us with prostates, that is. And you can sponsor me by clicking here and typing " Manky Mo-Boys " as the team to which you want to donate. Or you can join in and grow a tash with me by clicking here. You'll need some info for that. Captain's reg is 1415356 and captain's email is dave at puritan dot freeserve dot co dot uk. If anyone's having trouble joining the "Manky Mo-Boys", just let me know & I'll sort you out !!

Only one rule - you've got to start on Nov 1st, so some people (you know who you are) have got to have a shave at Halloween.

This is open to all - there's even a bit on the web site for Mo-Sistas as well as Mo-Bros. And we've all got two weeks to get mo-tivated……

Movember - Sponsor Me

 

17 October 2008 (Friday) - More Mo-Stuff, Interviews, and another Worry

17 October 2008 (Friday) - More Mo-Stuff, Interviews, and another Worrymagnify

My Boy TM” left the house quietly at 5am this morning. I really don’t know why I’m bothering typing this – there can’t be anyone on the planet who didn’t hear him leaving.

And then a few minutes were spent in NeverWinter before continuing my mission to spam the universe about Mo-Vember. So far, although I’ve doubled the size of my Mo-Team, I’ve recruited absolutely no one actually capable of growing a moustache at all (although one of the girls from work has joined) and I’ve raised a grand total so low that there are girls above me in the league table of who’s raised what.

And then to work – where I was interviewing. There must be a better way to appoint the best candidate.. When you ask “What will you bring to this job Mr Smith?” what answer do you honestly think you will get. Who in their right mind is going to tell you anything other than what you want to hear?

And then home. On the bus. I went to my sexy new car this evening and pressed the “unlock” button on the handset. Nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. So I got the bus home, and good old Jose drove me back with the spare handset. On arrival we tested my one. Still no joy, but the spare worked, and I drove home with a sense of relief. Having got home I thought I’d test the original. It’s working now. What’s that all about? I shall phone the garage in the morning…..

 

18 October 2008 (Saturday) - A Day in Hastings

18 October 2008 (Saturday) - A Day in Hastingsmagnify

The day started with a quick trip to the Renault garage, if only to find that they were as mystified as I was about my amazing malfunctioning handset. The only thing they could suggest was that the battery was on the way out, so I got a new one.

And then to Hastings for THE MEAL ! Every year, er indoors TM ‘s relatives get together in a poncy over-priced restaurant, and this year we went to the Victoria Hotel – an over-priced place on the sea front in St Leonards. A frankly average beef dinner and a rather burned skanky crumble was dished out at fifteen quid per head. Fortunately when the time came for afternoon tea I had to excuse myself as I had a prior commitment at a local beer festival.

If there was a pub that didn’t need to stage a beer festival, it’s the FILO. They had put on twelve guest beers, but we contented ourselves with their own home-brewed ales.

After the second beer, my brother turned up and we treated him to the entire beer repertoire, before moving on to the Anchor down the road where we met up with er indoors TM . A crafty pint of the Bishop’s Finger, and then it was off to meet up with a different whole load of in-laws and we spent the rest of the evening watching bonfire processions and fireworks. “My Boy TM” even turned up and joined in, and a good time was had by all. Over the years there are certain events that have become part of the annual calendar – I feel that Hastings bonfire will be added to that list…..

 

19 October 2008 (Sunday) - Looking to the Future

19 October 2008 (Sunday) - Looking to the Futuremagnify

I didn’t emerge from my pit until nearly mid day today, and then I spent over an hour at work sorting out IT issues. Despite having had a good night’s kip, I spent the day feeling incredibly lethargic, and wasted the afternoon dozing in front of old Star Trek episodes. A quick five minutes was used to put rubbish into bin bags – it’s amazing how much old tat one accumulates. And now I have the world’s worst back ache. What’s that all about? It certainly put the kibosh on doing anything in the garden today. Which means the lawn will be unmowable when next I get the chance to have a go.

Still, on the plus side, we’re now into the fireworks season. It’s Shadoxhurst bonfire next weekend (Sat 25th), The week after there’s a procession around Tenterden followed by fireworks on the green, if anyone’s up for it. And in two week’s time on November 8th is one of the year’s highlights – Rye Bonfire parade. A few years ago I never bothered with fireworks. Now – I love ‘em.

And looking further ahead it will soon be Xmas. I mention this not out of any whinging “ten million shopping days to Xmas” gripe, but merely to mention that I’ve stuck my Xmas “want list” on the Facebook group “Santa, I’ve been good”. On the one hand I feel that it’s rather cheeky of me to publish the list. On the other hand, it don’t hurt to give er indoors TM and the fruits of my loin TM a few gentle pointers.

Talking of Facebook, I see one of the Canadian relatives is doing Haiku. For those of my loyal readers who are unfamiliar with the term, Haiku is Japanese for “lame poetry”. Here’s one I prepared earlier…

My back hurts

Slobbing watching too much telly

And drinking beer

 

20 October 2008 (Monday) - Reading the News

20 October 2008 (Monday) - Reading the Newsmagnify

Recently released declassified government files would have us believe that there’s been a spate of UFO sightings over the South East over the last twenty years. You can see the actual files here, but be warned – they are huge documents, take an age to download, and are rather sparse when it comes to hard facts. For some reason, the word “crackpot” comes to mind - one abductee claims that a UFO’s engine sounds very similar to that of a train and that UFOs land in railway stations to disguise their noise.

Were there really aliens in Lydd seventeen years ago? I don’t think so, somehow. It’s more likely that Grumpy Middle Aged Gits were to blame.

Perhaps more concerning is the utter failure of kiddie-safe porn filters, with 75% of juvenile surfers copping an eyeful of that which they shouldn’t. Perhaps someone should take the initiative to clean up the Internet? Whilst there are those who claim that there is no person or body to have the right to do so, by exactly the same argument there is no person or body who should therefore have the hump when they have their act cleaned up for them.

And to work, where I received a strange phone call. My colleague who passed the phone to me was convinced that the person on the line must be a close friend, as they were continually repeating the phrase “pissy Dave”. It was actually the firm’s IT department with a new computer to replace my PC which died last week. Let’s hope this one lasts. Now to test the hospital’s smut filters…..

 

21 October 2008 (Tuesday) - What's In A Name..

Over on another blog there is mention of a chap named “Slasher” Presumably so named because he tiddles a lot. Looking back over the years, it’s been my experience that people get these nicknames on account of some outstanding physical attribute, activity, incident or proclivity. I went to school with a chap who went by the pseudonym of “Diarrhoea-Bum-Squirt-Goofy” owing to the fact that he was a buck-toothed fellow who once pebble-dashed the school showers. He’s now a policeman and (I was told a few years back) still trying to forget the whole sorry incident. Another alumnus of my old school (who also went on to join the police) rejoiced in the name of “Kettle Head”. It has to be said that his head was one of the more unusual shaped bonces at the school, but I think “kettle” was maybe a tad unfair.

There was a chap who went to my Boys Brigade group who was known as “Brains” on account of the fact that he was incredibly dumb. At the same Boys Brigade as well as there being a lad known as “Bread Pudding” there was a set of three brothers all known as “Killer”. The eldest “Killer” had a friend who went under the description of “Alfalfa-Pellets-Weasel-Bum-Scratcher”. I once had the reasoning explained to me, but like so much else, the explanation is lost in the mists of time. It’s probably best to gloss over the details of where “Nobby” got his name. And thirty years later I’m still trying to puzzle out the reasoning behind “Froglas”, “Fizzwald”, “Flidbin” and “The Denture Cleanser Kid”.

So I suppose “Slasher” should really be grateful that he got off so lightly...

 

22 October 2008 (Wednesday) - Stuff

22 October 2008 (Wednesday) - Stuffmagnify

Winter has arrived. Don’t bother about this nonsense with equinoxes and third Wednesday before Michalmas and official starts of winter. Winter started today because this was the first day I had to scrape ice off of the car. Cold !

Having chauffeured the womenfolk here, there and thither (as Oliver Hardy once said) I had a quick stomp around NeverWinter before Tescos and then to work. Being a Wednesday it’s lunchtime seminar day. Unfortunately my planned speaker had let me down, so I gave an impromptu spiel about the human neutrophil. “Do what?” I hear my loyal readership asking me. In a nutshell, when you get a good pussy zit, the neutrophils are what gives it the white colour. Did you know that the average person has some 24 000 000 000 of them? Fancy having so many of something most people have never heard of.

Listening to the news I hear a Ramsgate vicar’s son has been murdered. Rather than bother with the police, this reverend has set up a website in which he offers half a million quid for information about the killer’s identity. So’s that this vicar can go and avenge his son’s death. Doesn’t this speak volumes about the confidence the public have in the police force…..

(Oh – and if anyone’s bored this weekend, “Operation Roof TM” will kick off at mi howse at 1pm. Loads of fun up ladders with sealans and paint brushes and all sorts of nonsense.)

 

 

23 October 2008 (Thursday) - Marital Harmony

23 October 2008 (Thursday) - Marital Harmonymagnify

A minor panic this morning as er indoors TM overslept. Apparently she slept so lightly that the sound of my gentle breathing kept her awake for half the night. It don’t keep me awake.

Having bought more apparatus for “Operation Roof TM “ for Saturday, I popped into Tesco's on the way to work. For less than the price of an apple in the staff canteen, I can buy a small fruit farm at Tesco's. There was an interesting interlude whilst I was wandering around. An elderly couple were having a domestic:

Fierce old biddy: "Have you got the fish?"

Henpecked husband: "mutter "mutter"

Fierce old biddy: "Well, have you?"

Henpecked husband: "mutter mutter"

Fierce old biddy: "But you like fish"

Henpecked husband: "mutter mutter"

Fierce old biddy: "Yes you do!"

Henpecked husband: "mutter mutter"

Fierce old biddy: "Really?"

Henpecked husband: "mutter mutter"

Fierce old biddy: "Well I can't stand the stuff"

Henpecked husband: "mutter mutter"

Fierce old biddy: "You always liked it"

Henpecked husband: "mutter mutter"

Fierce old biddy: "Why didn't you say?"

Henpecked husband: "mutter mutter"

It transpired that they'd been having fish once a week for fifty years, but neither of them actually liked the stuff. Each thought the other was keen on it.

And then home again where I thought I’d have a haircut. There are those who feel it’s a bit enthusiastic (as haircuts go), and I’d have to agree with them. But I certainly got my money’s worth, and (it has to be said), haircuts don’t come much sexier…..

 

24 October 2008 (Friday) - Rain, Money, Quality TV on the Internet

24 October 2008 (Friday) - Rain, Money, Quality TV on the Internetmagnify

I scared myself this morning. I wandered into the bathroom for the morning shave and looked in the mirror. I’d forgotten about my sexy haircut. The reflection I saw made me sit up and take notice.

There is a treat today for the sc-fi fans amongst us. Please to be crap hands and cheering as “Wash” from “Firefly” stars as “Girly Boy”, a lobster fisherman in the latest episode of the Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine show. And remember, for ultimate power, expose your balls. I love the Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show – it’s one of the better things on the Internet – it’s up there with my You-Tube videos, it’s that good.

Amongst other rubbish, this morning’s post brought a money off voucher from Decathlon. The next time I go there I get three quid off. Something for nothing can’t be bad. I also got a letter saying that it’s been twenty two years since I joined the HSBC bank. I can actually remember the day twenty two years ago when I left Lloyds and walked across the road in Folkestone. The bank had “Midland” written above the door, but perhaps that’s Japanese for “HSBC”? Anyway, as a special bonus, they are turning my current account into a “current account advance” for me at no expense. That’s nice. Perhaps it was the sexy haircut that did it? I just hope they will follow Decathlon’s lead and stick some free money in it. The existing account always seems to be perennially skint.

And so to  work

 

25 October 2008 (Saturday) - Overdoing It

25 October 2008 (Saturday) - Overdoing Itmagnify

I got up, had brekky, ironed half a dozen shirts, zoomed round Tesco’s and was into work by 8.30 this morning. Four dull hours later it was home for “Operation Roof TM”. I must admit I wasn’t sure what I’d find to be the problem causing the leak – in many ways I was dreading finding nothing apparently wrong, so I’d have to spend thousands when the problem I couldn’t fix made the ceiling collapse. As it was we found three problems:

·         The lead flashing had come away slightly allowing water to get underneath

·         The guttering at the very front of the house was lower than the rest, making rain water pool and so seep up under the lead flashing

·         There were cracks on the sealant that was put over the lead flashing last time.

All relatively easily fixed. The flashing was bent back to where it should be, a couple of drainage holes made in the gutter to prevent pooling of water, and the whole lot dobbed up with a good dose of sealant. On my own this would probably have taken most of the afternoon. Six of us did it in half an hour. Which then gave us a few hours spare.

In the week we’d been asked about a pub in Egerton, so (out of a spirit of helpfulness) we researched it. And then to the Flying Horse in Smarden to try the seasonal Late Red, before stopping off at the Hoddener Horse in Great Chart because it was on the way home.

No time for tea – to Shadoxhurst for the bonfire and fireworks. And light sabres and luminous rabbit ears. And then back home again to dye heads in readiness for the coming week. And then to fall asleep in front of the telly. I expect tomorrow may well be dull, but today was one of those days when I did so much – I’m knackered….

3 Comments

 

26 October 2008 (Sunday) - Wet Sunday

26 October 2008 (Sunday) - Wet Sundaymagnify

Last night I was rather conscious of not being the life and soul of the party. I was absolutely worn out. I’ve no idea why. An early night, and the clocks going back meant I had a really good lie-in. But, as always, when I’m in kip for too long, I just got back ache.

It rained today. It poured hard. Normally I’d have a good whinge about wet Sundays, but (for today only) rain was good. I needed to see if yesterday’s roof repairs had worked. So far, so good. There was a good flow of rain water through the holes I drilled in the guttering yesterday so the water’s not collecting there again. I used the garden full of rainwater to sweep away all the grunge I dropped out of the guttering yesterday. Despite a torrential downpour, the ceiling seems to be drying out. Once dried it needs fixing, but that will be a blog entry for another day. Perhaps I should get up that ladder and de-clag the guttering on a more regular basis.

And then to actually do something with the day. Easier said than done. Every so often when out and about we drive through the village of Sandhurst where there is a vineyard. This place has a shop signposted, and today we thought we’d pop in and see if it’s as good as other local vineyard shops. It wasn’t. It was scary. There is no shop – just a shed with a sign saying to ring at the scary house if you want to buy anything. We got back in the car and drove away. Fast! A shame really - they brew their own beer there, and I would have liked to have tried some. But when you are half a mile down a very narrow windy lane and you are faced with a house like something out of “Deliverance”, one tends not to muck about.

Fish shopping instead. My fish tank has been looking somewhat sparse lately. World of Water at Rolvenden was a disappointment. It’s great for pond and Koi stuff, but for indoor fish, it’s a bit pants, really. So we popped into Swallow Aquatics in Tenterden. It has to be said that when it comes to tropical fish, I’m a life-long Neons & Guppy man. But today we had a change. Blue rainbow fish and some platys. Let’s see how long they last…

 

27 October 2008 (Monday) - Telescopes

27 October 2008 (Monday) - Telescopesmagnify

Astronomy club – after eighteen months, the chap who started it all off has decided to step down from the committee and just “be a member”. We had a little presentation for him, tastefully done, and then the rest of the evening was a practical “hands-on” session. A beginner’s guide to telescopes.

We had about twenty people along with probably a dozen telescopes and binoculars and we had two presentations. First of all one about a Star Party in Norfolk – a bit like a kite festival but where everyone takes telescopes and does stargazing rather than kite flying. And then a quick session on how telescopes work, and the different sorts you can get.

And then tonight we did something we’ve never done before at Astronomy Club. We went outside and looked at the stars. We saw the Pleiades, and Andromeda and the Ring Nebula. And shivered a bit. Next time I’ll wrap up warmer…..

1 Comment

 

28 October 2008 (Tuesday) - Healthy Eating

28 October 2008 (Tuesday) - Healthy Eatingmagnify

My Boy TM” is on earlies this week. I though the roof was collapsing when he got up at 5.20am, and together with most of the county, the house shook with the sound of his closing the door quietly at 5.45am this morning. I came home from work yesterday to hear his bellowing. Expecting some sort of major argument to be in full flow, it came as something of an anticlimax to find he was merely having a conversation with the insurance agent about his new car.

He’s currently got a bee in his bonnet about the fallacy of healthy eating. Apparently it’s all a con perpetrated by salad farmers. After all, he’s buff (or so he tells me), and look at the rubbish he eats. He’s actually been keeping a record of his “diet” over the last week or so:

Monday

·                   Two bowls of porridge with loads of sugar

·                   Two bags of crisps

·                   One packet of Fox’s biscuits

·                   One Penguin

·                   Two cheese & Pickle Sandwiches

·                   One large doner kebab

Tuesday

·                   Two slices of chocolate spread toast

·                   Three bags of crisps

·                   One Chicken & Mushroom pie

·                   Two cheese & Pickle Sandwiches

·                   One Chicken Curry & Rice

Wednesday

·                   Two bowls of crunchy-nut cornflakes with loads of sugar

·                   Two bags of crisps

·                   One packet of Fox’s biscuits

·                   One Penguin

·                   Three Tuna Mayo Sandwiches

·                   One Penguin

·                   One Lamb Hot-Pot

Thursday

·                   One bowl of coco-pops

·                   One bag of crisps

·                   Two Penguins

·                   Three Tuna Mayo Sandwiches

·                   Another bowl of coco-pops

Friday

·                   One bowl of crunchy-nut cornflakes with loads of sugar

·                   One bacon cheeseburger

·                   Two Tuna Mayo Sandwiches

·                   One bag of crisps

·                   Two penguins

·                   One bag popcorn

·                   Some Spag Bol

Saturday

·                   One bowl of crunchy-nut cornflakes with loads of sugar

·                   One mini fillet tower burger

·                   One bag of crisps

·                   Half a Domino’s pizza.

He’s clearly neglected to mention the gallons of lager he guzzled during the week. And I would hazard a guess as to where all the orange juice in the house has gone.

He’s also getting quite proprietary about which pictures of him I am allowed to put on Facebook. No pictures can go on Facebook without his prior formal permission. You’d think he’d have thought it through a bit better, wouldn’t you? It’s a shame that he’s not mentioned anything about the pictures I use in my blog. The red stuff is (was) his mother’s lipstick….

1 Comment

 

29 October 2008 (Wednesday) - A Reminder

29 October 2008 (Wednesday) - A Remindermagnify

Only two more days before we all start growing our moustaches. It would seem that there’s some confusion as to what’s involved. Basically you have your last shave for a month on Friday morning, and you see how good a “mo” you end up with a month later. If you don’t fancy growing a “mo”, you give me money which I send on to support a prostate cancer charity. You can either give me the cash, or click here and click on “donate”

Movember - Sponsor Me

 

30 October 2008 (Thursday) - Junior Astronomy

30 October 2008 (Thursday) - Junior Astronomymagnify

Well, we are on to my seven hundred and eighty sixth blog entry as the hit counter stampedes over the forty thousand mark. Bearing in mind that it doesn’t count whenever I log in myself, that is an average of some fifty hits a day. A figure which has remained pretty much constant over this last year. This is a fact which never fails to amaze me. There are friends I meet nowhere near as often as I'd like who know what I’m up to from the blog, and it’s quite a sobering thought that there are people who’ve never met me who log in every day to see what their mate’s mate has been getting up to.

I originally started blogging back in September 2006 when it seemed the “in-thing” to do, but most of the bloggers I started off with have found better things to do (i.e. life). For myself, I find blogging concentrates the mind in useful reflection, and serves as a diary to remind myself about what I’ve done. Looking back over only the last couple of months I’d completely forgotten about the “Ashford Star Trek Ferengi Marauder Spaceship Three Gallon Pub Crawl Conspiracy Theory (patent pending)” from September 26th, or the fact that “My Boy TM” got me some pond liners (September 15th). There are rants and tirades about the police and traffic wardens and builders, and all sorts of other drivel. I must admit I do enjoy coming up with this nonsense. If nothing else it will be an insight into the mind of the mad fat bloke for generations yet unborn, and I’m told that “Daddies Little Angel TM” has dibs on the publishing rights.

Where was I? – Oh yes, diary. I woke up today with a backache that just hasn’t gone away. I’ve spent the day in vague non-specific pain. I started work early, and got out early so that I could get to the library in town for 5pm. The astronomy club had been asked to put on a show today as part of a series of evening sessions the library was running for children over the half term holiday. Our chairman had done all the organising, and I turned up really to add moral support and to do any fetching and carrying that needed doing. There must have been twenty to thirty kids of assorted ages, and Drew gave an excellent talk that had them all enthralled. And then we went into the car park and had a go with telescopes until rain stopped play, at which point we adjourned for tea, squash, biccies and cakes. All provided by the library. It was an evening well spent. At going home time, the children seemed to have enjoyed what they’d seen, and at least a dozen parents asked for more information about the club. Let’s just hope they aren’t disappointed with the speaker if they turn up for the next meeting – it’s me!!

 

31 October 2008 (Friday) - Halloween

31 October 2008 (Friday) - Halloweenmagnify

This year the world seems to have gone Halloween crazy – rather than only having a couple of seasonal bits, Tesco and Asda have whole aisles of spooky bits. I’m told the local costume hire shop was mayhem all day long today. If you can’t beat them, join them - so I costumed up as the grim reaper (much to the delight of three sets of “trick or treaters”) and a car load of us set off for a booze up in Sevenoaks.

It was great. Bryan & CA had really pushed the boat out, there were…. I don’t know how many people were squashed into the house. I would estimate probably about fifty big ‘uns and little ‘uns. All (except one) in fancy dress. Everyone had made such a good effort that my shaved head was just another costume. I think it’s fair to say that the best costume of all must have been “Edward Scissorhands” – it was excellently done.

There was even bonus entertainment when it was time to fetch “Brokeback Dogs” (they were never confused). The dogs had been left in a neighbour’s house and the dogs managed to lock themselves in. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, the only way to get into the house was to put a window in. All very amusing and entertaining, all the time it’s somebody else’s window being put in.

To bed at 1.30am…..