Entry for 08 September 2006

Entry for 08 September 2006magnify

Finally got the decorating done. I like the finished result.

Pink !


10th September - Knackered

I suppose I'd better write something as everyone else seems to be doing so these days.

After all the bows & arrows & beer yesterday (as always there's piccies somewhere off of www.mankybadger.com) I'm not sure if driving to Brighton was a good idea. I can't help but wonder if I'm doing the right thing in getting so involved in the politics of a sport/hobby I so rarely actually do these days, but if I don't....

I knew what was going on with snake herding seven years ago, and I did nothing. OK, I don't for one moment think that I could have kept the hobby alive single handedly, but keeping snakes as pets is effectively now moribund, if not actually dead. Kite flying could so easily go the same way. So I'll keep banging the drum....

In the meantime I've found how to directly link here from www.mankybadger.com - I'll use this more often now.


11 September 2006 - Fund Raising (he laughed!)

I took the afternoon off work to do all my "fart arse-ing around™" so I'd have the evening free for a scouting fund raising meeting. We're planning to take a couple of dozen assorted cubs & scouts to Alaska in 2008,  so anything to offset the cost is useful. As we're all busy leaders, the idea was to involve the parents. After all we know from experience that it's possible to fund raise nearly half the cost of such a trip.

Two mums turned up. Out of a potential total of nearly fifty parents, we got two. But we had the meeting.... suggestions included sponsored this & that, Xmas bizarres, we seem to always be milking the same old people at these fund raisers. And it's the same old faces putting in the effort.

We need to come up with a money spinner that requires minimal effort & will milk more than "the usual suspects". But doesn't everyone?


12 September 2006 - Chess

12 September 2006 - Chessmagnify

As part of his Chief Scout’s Award, James was given the task of running an evening at Cubs tonight. He did a very good programme with cubs taking part in various events. “Yours Truly” was given the task of supervising the chess games (!) So, there’s half a dozen chess games in progress, and me wandering round supervising.


“Are you OK here girls?”


“And you both know how to play chess?”

“Yes – we’re in chess club at school”

“And you both want to sit on the same side of the board”


“So who is what colour?”

“We’re white”

“Who’s black, then?”


“Yes – these ones over there”

“Oh, we’re not using those, we’re just playing with the white ones


One wonders what goes on at chess club at school.


13 September 2006 Award-winning? No !

I see that in my works magazine that a colleague based in another hospital has been given a formal award for the sterling work she did one night for two seriously ill patients.

Now I’m in no way disparaging her efforts, but I can’t see how what she did was any different to what any of my people do on a regular basis. One of my girls has worked every bank holiday this year. One of my chaps worked the night of his wedding anniversary. All of my people have at various times abandoned their own commitments and tirelessly and cheerfully done the same work, at sometimes only an hour’s notice.

And the same thing goes on, in every hospital in the world, every night of the year. But now, one person is publicly rewarded for their efforts.

And in singling out one as being wonderful, all the rest of us somehow now seem to be second rate. There was no thanks for the identical work I did on Saturday 26th August when I came home early from holiday (leaving family and friends behind).

Or on the day after my son was born when no one else was available to provide emergency cover.

Perhaps those who give out the awards are also blissfully ignorant that it was not until my daughter was eight that I was able to be present at one of her birthday parties as for seven years no one else was available to provide emergency cover in early June.

I can’t remember how many wedding anniversaries and other family birthdays (to say nothing of family Christmases) I’ve missed.

One keeps smiling…….


14 September 2006 - Apathetically agnostic

I got into a religious squabble today. Some twit declared they were a Christian.

“So what church do you go to?”

“Oh I don’t go to church?”

“But doesn’t the bible tell us that it is better to share your faith in fellowship with other believers?”


“I thought you were a Christian”

“Well, yes but I don’t know the bible”

“So you’re a Christian who doesn’t go to church and hasn’t read the bible?”

Yeeees…..” (bit nervous)

“But you do believe that God himself became mortal and died in pain for you personally?”

“Well, I’m not that into it.” (bit aggressive)

“So you’re agnostic?”


“An atheist?”

“NO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“So, you don’t go to church, haven’t read the bible and don’t understand or believe in the underlying tenets of your belief, but you’re a Christian?”

“Yes, that’s right”

“How do you work that out?”

“Belief” (Confident smile)


Rather a strange theological standpoint.

Presumably with the same logic I can prove black is white, and get myself run over on the next zebra crossing !


15 September 2006 - a trip to the dentist

Many years ago my dentist told me that as I spend so much on dental treatment every month it would actually be cheaper for me to pay into a private dental scheme. So I did as the chap asked, but after a while he left the practice.

I was then treated by another chap in the same surgery. Whilst being a very good dentist, he never ever kept appointments. Every single time I had an appointment I would get a phone call a day or so before telling me it had been re-scheduled for the next week.

After a few years of this I complained and was transferred to another dentist in the same surgery who again was a good dentist. He just seemed far more interested in the portable TV in his surgery than in the contents of my gob. I would lie on the couch waiting for the adverts, because he would do dentistry during the adverts. Occasionally he would respond to my theatrical coughs during programs, but not always.

Today I decided I’d had enough – this would be his last chance. He could look in my trap OR at the telly. It came as something of a relief to see that this wouldn't be a problem any more. There was a different dentist. One that had the telly switched off. After the obligatory waiting for them to get the right notes as there’s another chap of my name (25 years older…) there’s a bit of a hoo-hah about my private patient status, but I was assured all was OK, and they proceeded to do TV free dentistry...

When I went to make my next appointment I was told this new chap didn’t do private patients, and so I’d be transferred back to the one who never keeps appointments.

It was so handy having a dentist's surgery just down the road….


16 September 2006 - email - how could I ever live without it?

I checked my emails at 7.30 am this morning, and then went to work, and then out shopping with friends. When I came home and checked my emails again, I had 302 of the things. I had the opportunity to increase my wealth, I had the opportunity to increase the size of my penis, I had the opportunity to buy cheap viagra. Tiny teens, sexy russians and bored housewives are hot for me, and dethroned African royalty needs my personal help to recover their lost fortunes. I have been given inside information on the latest bestest thing on the stock market, and I've several offers to become an eBay power seller. Oh - and several American banks have pre-approved me for a mortgage.

I am so grateful for my anti-spam software.

Now to dust off my furry yellow ass and lose at poker.....

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17 September 2006 (Sunday) Hell's Bells ? - No, the other lot !

I am regularly woken on a Sunday at 7.30am, and have been for the last fifteen years. The local church (100 yards up the road) clangs it's bell (just the one - and it sounds as if it's cracked) continually from 7.30 am till 8am.

I've emailed the vicar to ask the significance of it (and to ask him not to) - apparently it's a call to prayer. I've complained to the local council who are scared to get involved as it's a church.

So I'm laying in bed this morning, wide awake from 7am waiting for the infernal noise to start. It didn't. Let's hope for the best.


18 September 2006 (Monday) Downgrading...

At work we're in the throes of changing what hours we do, and how it's paid. The hours stay the same - it's a hospital - we never close (Der!). But at the moment we all work 9am-5pm or 10am-6pm, and all the rest is overtime. For various reasons the idea is that the working day will extend from currently 9am-6pm to 8am-8pm and that no one will do overtime any more.

Everyone will work from 8am to 8pm in various shifts, and people will be asked to volunteer to work at night. No one working more  than 37.5 hours in total each week.Those that work at night will be given an enhancement to their wages. So much so that the "basic grade worker" who is two salary scales lower than me (as their manager) will earn some 92% of what I get.

We've a vacancy in the "basic grade worker" department at the moment. On the down side I take an 8% pay cut. However, I can do a third of my working week in one night & get days off in the week and I needn't lay awake at night worrying about work any more.


19 September 2006 (Tuesday) - Define "History"

It's Tuesday, and every Tuesday night I meet up with a dozen or so mates and we watch something vaguely sci-fi (ish). Over the last thirteen years we've watched pretty much every episode of all the various Star Treks, Babylon 5, Earth Final Conflict, Jeremiah, Tenth Kingdom, Andromeda, Lost, and we're currently watching "From the Earth to the Moon". It's an excellent dramatisation of the Apollo missions to the moon. Tonight was Apollo 13. Guess what happened?

(Well, of course I knew what happened. I remember it happening. I remember standing in my Gran's back garden back in April 1970 looking at the moon, and worrying about those three astronauts.)

After the end credits were done, and we were chatting, one of our number commented on the show. Not only is it very entertaining, it's also educational. It's a history lesson.

No it's not ! It's NOT history ! History is ancient stuff. Apollo 13 isn't "history". I was there !

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20 September 2006 (Wednesday) I am Thunderbird 4

20 September 2006 (Wednesday) I am Thunderbird 4magnify

Gordon Tracy would have been proud of me.

Picture the scene.....

I am wearing my best shirt (bought on the recommendation of my prospective daughter-in-law) and a pair of pants (blue). I am up to my chest in a cold smelly river, the mud is up to my shins, the bulrushes are way over my head, it’s getting dark, there’s something unmentionable swimming around my unmentionables and I’ve got a fit of the giggles.

It seemed like a lovely evening to go for a walk around the park, but twenty minutes into the walk there’s a ferocious squawking and quacking from the river. A duck (to be precise, it was a coot) had got itself entangled in discarded fishing line. The poor bird was incredibly snarled up, wings and legs at all angles, and a float sticking out to the side. What would you do?

In much the same way that Clark Kent rips open his shirt to become Superman, I popped off shoes, socks and trousers and with no regard to personal safety leapt into the river to save this unfortunate wildfowl.

Oh it was cold. And deep. And muddy. It was at this point that my giggling fit started.

Once I’d stopped laughing I saw I’d attracted quite an audience made up of ex-cub scouts and friends of my son. All of whom were wondering what I was doing in the river.

Rescuing this bird

What bird?

In the excitement of getting myself into the river, the poxy thing had flown off.


21 September 2006 (Thursday) A father-son chat

A father – son ass-kicking….


Oh – it’s you


Got anything to say for yourself?”



Yes” (rather unsure)

Don’t give me that – I’ve had phone calls

Oh” (Light beginning to dawn)

Up the park?”



Well, there was this duck

Really” (disbelief)

Well, coot really

Was there?” (dripping scorn)

Well, more of a moorhen I suppose


Well, it was tangled in fishing line and I couldn’t just leave it

Couldn’t you?” (Getting cross now)

Well, not really. And your Mum said…”

Mum said! – I thought she’d be involved somewhere!” (Getting really cross now)

So I had to try to rescue it

So you HAD do, did you. I expect your shirt is ruined as well. It’s not enough that you show me up on your rollerblades, you have to strip off and go swimming in the river in front of my mates as well, do you. You are SO embarrassing!!!!”

Erm…. I’m going to my room

I should think so!”


22 September 2006 (Friday) I'm a genius !

22 September 2006 (Friday) I'm a genius !magnify

Last September I started doing a post-graduate certificate in Work-Based Tutoring with the University of Westminster. The idea was that it would help me to be a better tutor to the university students I teach at work. The course had as it’s learning objectives:

At the end of the module the successful participant is expected to be able to:

Principles of Work-Based Tutoring:

·                     a)                   Analyse & evaluate the major theories of learning and discuss their application to the practice of teaching, learning & assessment in work-based higher education and in relation to different learning styles.

·                     b)                   Analyse & synthesise broad and fundamental notions of tutoring and mentoring in work based learning in higher education.

·                     c)                   Critically debate the complexity of issues relating to the diversity of students in higher education, particularly those engaged in work based learning, and discuss the implications for equal opportunities in learning at individual & institutional levels.

·                     d)                   Plan, implement and critically evaluate the assessment of student learning related to a work based tutoring session in the light of relevant theoretical perspectives

·                     e)                   Debate definitions and value of reflective practice in teaching and learning in higher education in the workplace

·                     f)                     Discuss the diverse tasks associated with teaching in higher education in the workplace and address contradictory issues that might arise.

Reflective Practice in Work-Based Tutoring:

·                     a)                   Develop a method of critical reflection, analysis and evaluation of own practise as a work based tutor.

·                     b)                   Critically evaluate approaches to the planning, delivery and assessment of cycles of work based teaching and learning in light of their theoretical background utilising strategies for reflective practice.

·                     c)                   Propose and justify, in light of reflection and evaluation, approaches to future practise as work based tutors facilitating tutee’s learning

·                     d)                   Observe teaching and learning in diverse contexts and analyse and evaluate the implications for equal opportunities in learning with reference to relevant literature

·                     e)                   Assess own developmental needs as a work based tutor and develop a strategy for continuing professional development based on this assessment and the process of reflective practise.

I got the results today – I passed with distinction. Yay !!!

In celebration I got myself a “Duck Lifeguard” protective helmet.

23 September 2006 (Saturday) God laughs when we make plans

23 September 2006 (Saturday) God laughs when we make plansmagnify

I had such high hopes for today. We were going to be at the Bat-farm by 6am, erect every piece of camping apparatus even remotely associated with the Ener-guys (and gals), waterproof the canvas, mend the tents, sort out enough pegs for every tent, put club logos on the bigger tents, blah-de-blah.....

On the way 'er indoor's car developed a strange clanging noise, so by the time we'd finished mucking around with strange mechanical noises, gone back home, swapped cars, etc. it was gone 11am. We then only managed to treat the canvas of four tents before running out of dangerous chemicals. Rather than getting more dangerous chemicals or carrying on with the myriad of other activities planned for the day, we said "stuff it" and went to see the fish at Grafty Green garden centre.

Mind you, a good day was had by all, a very enjoyable dinner, followed by feeding the fish in one of the Bat - ponds.  Rounded up by a quick surf of the Internet http://www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com/ 


24 September 2006 (Sunday) Hic !

A birthday….


Having poured the best part of two gallons of ale down my neck, please don’t be expecting too much in the way of wit and erudition. And I ache from the trampoline.

Lunch was booked for 1pm, so I was at the pub at mid day. By the time the birthday boy arrived I was well into the third pint. Binge drinking – me ?!?!?!?!?!

It was really good to find friends from years ago were along for the meal. As one goes through life one meets loads of people, and it’s too easy to lose contact with them.

Friends are special, and far too precious to lose!

1 Comment

25 September 2006 (Monday) - Prophesy

25 September 2006 (Monday) - Prophesymagnify

When one goes to the doctor with a sore throat, one does not expect to be prescribed with haemorrhoid ointment.

When one takes one’s PC to an IT consultant to have more RAM installed, one does not expect to have the CD drive thrown away.

When one opens one’s cornflakes box at breakfast, one does not expect to find marmalade.

When one buys a goldfish from the pet shop, one does not expect to receive a tortoise.


Why is this? Because we have expectations. If someone bills themselves as a professional/expert then we expect them to do what they say they can.

So why do we put up with such shoddy weather forecasting? Take for example the BBC’s forecast for my post code for today. The forecast for the day is “light rain”. The detailed twenty-four hour forecast doesn’t actually predict rain at any stage. What did we actually get? Heavy rain. All of which is totally at odds with what they predicted yesterday.

And we put up with it! Don’t forget that we pay for these forecasts either directly through the TV licence fee, or indirectly through taxes which run the met office.

I wish I could work like that. “Oh, WASN’T it a cold, Mr Jones? – what was it in the end? leukaemia? – Oh silly me!” and then we all have a good laugh and go on to stuff up someone else’s life.

The average person has more faith in their horoscope than they do in a weather forecast. So why do we take so much notice of them?


26 September 2006 (Tuesday) Local Geography

I had professional responsibilities in “another town” today. Whilst driving along I’d obviously missed seeing the road sign I was looking for. So I decided to ask one of the locals for directions.

Excuse me mate


Am I on the right road for the hospital?


The Hospital?

Hos-ti-pol ?” (completely blank expression)

Yes – the hospital

Hos-pic-all??” (obviously never heard the word before)

Yes – that’s right – great big building with doctors & nurses & ill people

Dunno – no idea – haven’t a clue !!


And this was repeated at least a dozen times. Surely one knows where the nearest hospital is?


27 September 2006 (Wednesday) Reviewing the News

I see the Mona Lisa was smiling because she was either pregnant or had just had a baby.


I also see the average person here in the UK owes over £3000 to someone else.


Perhaps if we hadn’t wasted hard earned cash finding out why the Mona Lisa was so happy, we’d be a bit more inclined to smile ourselves?

 1 Comment


28 September 2006 (Thursday) Last Will & Testicle

As my son takes his driving test, I'm wondering where the years have gone. Pondering mortality reminds me that over the years I've always said about what I want to happen at my funeral. I know it upsets Kate (strange, that !), but I can't help but feel I should actually leave some instructions. If I don't the righteous will have a go at claiming me as a posthomous convert.....

·         The funeral service will be in the scout hut, hopefully led by someone who's actually heard of me.

·         No one will be allowed to blub, and we'll have NO flowers. If anyone has money to burn, give it to the scout group - NOT something funded by the government!!!!

·         There will be a real ale bar for during & after the service.

·         Songs to include "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush, "Pretend" by Alvin Stardust, "For the Normal People" by the Boomtown Rats.

·         There will be at least one chorus of "Stop the Pigeon" complete with actions. (Dan knows what I mean!)

·         In the post funeral piss-up, there will be a card game played on my coffin.

I'll add to this list as time goes by until such time as I'm called in to explain myself.


29 September 2006 (Friday) - Copying what the normal people do

I did something I’ve not done for ages this evening.

With all the family elsewhere, I sat and watched telly non stop for four hours. It was brill ! Kicking off with Doctor number nine and some Daleks, I moved on to the adventures of Del Boy who was attempting to get saucy with some old salt (he does that). Captain Kirk then succeeded to get saucy with the Dohlmann of Elass (he does that a lot). Doctor number ten kicked both Cyber- and Dalek-asses (and almost but not quite got saucy with Rose), and I rounded the evening off with some triffids getting saucy with anything they could.

Pausing only for a brief plateful of bacon, egg, chips & beans it was a wonderful way to spend the evening. Must do it again.


30 September 2006 (Saturday) A bit fishy...

For the last five years I’ve been driving to Brighton on a regular basis (can’t think why!). On the way is a koi carp centre. I’ve been meaning to pop into that place since the very first time I made the Brighton trip. Today we made a special trip there and got talking to “the nice man in the shop TM” who said that all I needed was a pond of 1000 gallons capacity. Now in my more sane moments one of my degrees (the B.A.) is in mathematics, so it didn’t take me long (about 45 minutes) to work out that 1000 gallons is 3785 litres. So a pond four metres long by two metres wide by two metres deep is four times bigger than what I need.

Tina bought me a smashing book about ponds (apparently it’s in honour of next Wednesday – God only knows what’s special about that date) which says that you should cheat and use the soil you dig out of the hole to build up the walls of the pond. That way you don’t have to dig quite so deep. It’s time to break the news to “My Boy TM

Dan – I’ve good news and bad news


The good news – that pond you’ve always wanted. We start tomorrow


The bad news – you’re digging it!”

Tomorrow we start excavating about twenty-one tons of soil.