Friday, April 28, 2006

Bathroom woes...

Leaks from the bathroom into our backroom downstairs have plagued us on and off for a while now.I assumed it was a combination of the shower and my recently discovered tiling skills.But no, I've been vindicated and it is infinitely worse.Cracks have appeared in the bath,possibly there for some time as hairline but they have 'grown' overnight.After spending the day at a conference two hours drive away I rushed back today and bought some repair adhesive.Read the instructions,twice:mixed the contents and applied the same...smells nice,floaty floaty,sniff!Open bathroom window and finish application.Fingers crossed but ever the optimist I then viewed the price of baths on t'net,because I believe that will be the next course of action.I know the limits of my D.I.Y. skills...think back of a postage stamp.
All of which is a monumental bugger because I can see my slowly evolving plan to spend some time in the emerald isle this year being transmuted into a new bath and plumbing costs.I haven't been back to Ireland since 1992 and I gather there have been some changes...On the good news front our local airport offers cheap flights to Dublin as of today.So maybe a long weekend in Dublin later in the year to test the,cool,creamy waters, pints of it.Preferably pouring down my throat as opposed to water pouring through the ceiling.However,I am on call tonight and can have nothing stronger than tea and biscuits.Having stated the above,there are pubs and breweries in Ireland that produce and sell real ale,who would benefit from my tourism rather than a big multi-national.I'll dig out the copy of the 'Beer'(Camra) magazine and offer a couple of tips at some time in the future plus the author of the article.
I'm off for a cuppa and to view NCIS.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


(Photo by Cally,'Unofficial Tony Robinson Site').

My garden has not been touched since December and it looks neglected,sad and full of archaeologists;the japanese sniper was repatriated after the last tidy up.So Mrs.Catto and I decided to buy a strimmer and looked 'price dropped' free catalogue.A lovely little cordless one for £20-00,bargain!internet check for availability...out of stock.Try slightly further afield...out of stock.Try,just to confirm my suspicions...out of stock.My's spring and I am a typical Brit.It's April and a bit of sunshine,GARDEN!!!Everyone else has the same idea and strimmers are just not in the store.But if I order on-line and pay extra for delivery they are available.It's not a conspiracy, I could be more organised and buy these things when most people have their minds elsewhere i.e December.
"You off to the Christmas party mate?"
"No,I am off to purchase a garden strimmer,a barbeque set, several gnomes and 7 cwt of grass seed".
Of course I'll go to the party and spend the money on networking before alcohol breeches the barrier of commonsense and I tell the chief exec. he's an anally retentive muppet with the social skills of a mongoose.
So we are off to B&Q to peruse their aisles and I just know we will overspend on 'other necessaries' for the garden.The one necessary I continue to look for is rude gnomes.I saw one in a garden flashing a large purple appendage and I immediately thought of christmas presents for aged aunts and vicars:perfect.They'll deliver them wrapped in brown paper.So if anyone knows of such company, such as 'Gnomes with Knobs' please let me know.
Orf to shop TTFN.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


The pooch is happy having run/walked/scampered/chased and generally blundered her way around the locale.For every mile I walked she walked three...I let her off the lead in safe places.She is a cocker spaniel/labrador cross and soft as anything.I have been told that she would make a good gun dog by someone who trains gundogs,but I think she is too excitable.We had originally considered getting a small dog,a Yorkie or Jack Russell.Fate brought the mutt into our orbit and I can't imagine not having her around.
Out on the walk in the sunshine I noticed the one downside of dog ownership.Dogshit...loads of it.I believe if you have a dog, part of being a responsible dog owner is to clear up the shit.I carry a nappy sack,scented and ready for the inevitable dump.It annoys me that useless twats allow their dogs to crap and leave it in situ for the enjoyment of others.This tars all dog owners as people naturally assume,barring catching the dog in the act of defecating(just mull over that has a ring to it,a word of substance),that your dog is responsible for the mess.I sometimes wish I had a Magic wand and 'Alakazam hey presto!', the dogshit is magically transported to the dog owners home.Preferably in their microwave,bed,bath or lying tantalysingly beneath their duvets awaiting bedtime.The lazy tossers!


A week away from work and I returned to the thick of it.The last two days have been very busy,so much so that I didn't go out to the pub acoustic night yesterday.I succumbed to T.V. and a couple of beers.'Arran Blonde' at 5% I can thoroughly recommend and my usual Marston's 'Old Empire',a truly delightful IPA which I keep hoping to find on draught one day.I'm also wearing my new Camra T-shirt '35 years' and i feel pleased as punch...simple pleasures for a simple mind.
No.1 son is back at school and exams so the house is quiet.Just a dog with soulful eyes looking longingly at the front door,so walkies it is.I had planned to get up early and walk her but lethargy and my awareness that I have the day free...
TTFN, I'm off to put a smile on her face.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

St.George's Day...

After reading Seany's blog
I remembered it was St.George's Day.There is no fuss made about it at all in comparison with St.Patrick's Day.
The P.C. brigade do their damnedest to mute any celebrations which is ironic.St.George was a fourth century Roman soldier from modern day Turkey or Syria,whilst St.Patrick was post Romano-British.He was taken as a slave by the Irish and later returned to them to proselytise christianity.So perhaps we should celebrate both days!!
One of the main reasons for the Irish celebrating St.Patrick's day is that catholicism formed one strand of Irish resistance to British occupation.So to celebrate the saint's day,wear green,etc...was to defy the British erosion of the Irish identity (language,religion,land ownership,etc..).Hence modern Paddy's day celebrations are noisy and enjoyable.England should celebrate St.George's day and use it to celebrate the good things about England and keep it away from political parties.Good food,music,good real ale and foster the sense of community.It should not be pushed to the margins where right-wing racist groups can use it for their own ends.
"In Islamic cultures, the figure of al-Khadr (or al-Khidr; according to the Qur'an a companion of the prophet Moses), is associated with St.George, who is also venerated under that name by Christians among mainly Muslim people, especially Palestinian people, and mainly around Jerusalem, where according to tradition he lived and often prayed near the Temple Mount, and is venerated as a protector in times of crisis. His main monument is the elongated mosque Qubbat al-Khadr ('The Dome of al-Khadr') which stands isolated from any close neighbors on the northwest corner of the Dome of the Rock terrace in Jerusalem." (Wikipedia).
He is also celebrated in Georgia, Portugal,Lithuania,etc...
So I will celebrate today with some good English ale (Cains,owned by the Dusanj brothers,Ajmail and Sudarghara),some modern folk music (The Quo) and,by cooking a Sunday roast chicken,flu and all.
Happy St.George's Day!


for the Cains information.
I can recommend joining.

Friday, April 21, 2006


I've been tagged by Seany and I have to post six random comments about myself. I then have to tag six other bloggers.
1. I was involved in a coal fight at primary school aged five years.My gang challenged another gang and,yup I was the only injured party.I carry a piece of coal in my forehead still.
2. I went walk about aged five, travelling around London by bus alone.
3. I had clarinet lessons at school.
4. I was given a fencing foil as a young boy.
5. Four visits to casualty as a boy,each time with a broken wrist.
6. I woke up drunk once in Belfast when I should have been in Amsterdam.

I now have to find six more bloggers and as someone new to this,it'll be fun finding them.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


This occurred to me last night whilst watching a minor London team beat the Spanish version of Torquay...and I grudgingly admit to wanting the arse to win.
The adverts and the prospective audience during football.What do the adverts say about blokes? Lager, cars,football,shaving and other bodily hygiene products.
All done in a 'blokeish' fashion...think 21st century Denim-style adverts. Jokey,manly,deep voiced, one-of-lads,it's your round,look at the tits on that and above all,a tribal sense of belonging.
Adverts that appeal to the 20 year old 'chav' as well as to the 40 year old I.T. operator who occasionally envies the 20 year old's perceived freedom.I think what surprises me is how often the ad execs get it right and how often humour is used to sell blokeish products these days.I wonder if it is easier to sell these ideas to men than it is to women? The humour is also different; men are often the butt of humour in ads aimed at women whereas with men,the perception is that of laughing at themselves.Ads are also increasingly more sophisticated as people do understand the media more as well as different levels within the message itself.That argument holds water until you see daytime telly!!!The sophistication of ads are related to spending power,hence the endless ads for loans,ambulance chasers,etc..aimed at the unemployed and the retired during the day.Carol Vorderman...Jesus she does not need a loan.So big sporting events,the latest cool U.S.programme,soaps, etc... these will attract the better,more sophisticated adverts.Then there is Agent Orange David Dickinson advertising McD*$*!& as fucking french fries!I'll have to think of inappropriate people for adverts for a future blog.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Books....and yet more books.

I have just read Seany's Blog about hanging on to stuff that has:
a. Outlived it's usefulness.
b. No longer fits.
c. Both a and b but may come in useful one day.
We have just had a spring clearout yet there is still junk hidden away in cupboards and under the stairs.My downfall is books;I hang onto all sorts of books including the rubbish ones.I occasionally have a clearout (move house!) and it does astonish me how attached I have become to books.Mind you, 'The Da Vinci code' I offloaded as soon as I read it although the 'Holy Blood & Holy Grail' I kept for years until I lent it out.looking across at on set of shelves and at aquick glance I can see several Terry Pratchett; Ian Rankin; numerous books on British and world history; Good Beer Guides; Work books; Numerous assorted novels,mainly historical; 'The Road to Reality' by Roger Penrose (One day I intend to get beyond chapter 3) and,a variety of reference and English language books.Bloody hell!The Da vinci code is there amongst them.It must have been returned...usually I lend a book to someone and if it is important I never see it again.The book most well thumbed award goes to 'The Collected Sherlock Holmes'.I thoroughly enjoy Holmes and never tire of reading them.One book I recently read and can reccomend is 'From the Holy Mountain' by William Dalrymple.Briefly, he follows in the steps of a sixth century monk through the middle east,making connections from the past to the present.It would make interesting reading for some of those who hold trenchent religious and political views on the current middle eastern situation.For a good novel I would recommend 'The American Boy' by Andrew Taylor.Again historical, a murder mystery and involves Edgar Allen Poe.Well worth reading on cold,dark winter evenings with a decent beer or wine to accompany it.
I shall away now as I have things to do and ,being as I am on my hols,I might even visit a hostelry for refreshment.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Bank Holiday sunshine...

Last night I sat and watched one of my favourite films on DVD.'Topsy Turvy' with Jim Broadbent as W.S.Gilbert as a slice of life and the making of 'The Mikado'.How much is true to their lives and how much is fiction I don't know.But a wonderful portrayal and the music is thoroughly enjoyable.Another excellent film by Mike Leigh and a brief insight into Victorian society,class,etc...Unfortunately I fell asleep before the end but this was my umpteenth viewing of it.The delightful Shirley Henderson is also in it as is Timothy Spall.I never tire of watching actors who give you the impression it is real and you do not notice the acting (viz rant about Tom Cruise).I tend to buy DVD's which I will watch time and again,hence I recently bought 'Downfall' about the last days of Hitler and Berlin.Another one which I will watch several times over the next few years.
Listening to Steely Dan as I write this.Twenty odd years ago a friend of mine loved Steely Dan and I was quite dismissive of them as a 'jazzy-rockshlock band'.I then re-discovered them ten years back as I began to listen to music other than metal,alternative and folk. I guess I grew up and took the time to listen more attentively.Strangely enough I also grew out of Springsteen except for his early stuff and the 'Nebraska' album which I still enjoy.Later on,if the weather changes and forces me indoors,I might listen to some Richard Thompson...'Amnesia' and 'Rumour and Sigh' although I haven't yet got his latest one.The orange mutt is looking soulfully at me and casting meaningful glances towards the door.Walkies it is by the dock and to get some fresh air.A long walk I think which means I'll be shagged tired out.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


We won!!! The BBC Radio Humberside pub quiz that is.It went to the wire but we won by just the one point.Phew,it was a close call.Dave and Rose did the regulars proud with a cooked breakfast and hot coffee.Lots of noise was the order of the day as we limped to victory.Then home to prepare the Sunday roast...chicken because No.1 son doesn't like other meats.Mind you, he doesn't like vegetables either so a few carrots have snuck onto his plate to sacrifice themselves in the name of getting some vitamins into his body.
During the process of cooking I had an extended opportunity to examine the garden (Somme) which winter and the dog have transformed.the mutt must piss copious amounts of sulphuric acid to destroy so much grass.As for hole digging...I'm thinking of hiring her out to Murphy's.She has such a talent for digging I'm sure she's a mole.She accompanies the digging with eating flowers.How she identifies flowers but ignores the weeds I don't know.The daffs only survived with a complicated arrangement of canes and tank traps.Still, we can replace grass and flowers unlike the three-piece suite she chewed holes in as a puppy....and the carpets,lino, clothes,etc...So in the coming summer I will be making over the garden with a 'not quite a patio' look.She can't dig through paving and there will be less grass to cut,plus the large pots containing plants and flowers just might ensure their survival.
I've just read thro' this and it reads like a sixties hippie tract with references to pot, acid and there a flower called 'Purple Heart' which can be added to the list?Anyway, I'm listening to Nina Simone and considering a cup of tea.Yes, I had a few beers yesterday and had an early night.Consequently I was awake at 4 a.m. and enjoyed watching my cats getting excited at the dawn chorus.Re-hydration was also a necessity at that time...lots of orange squash.I'm off to make tea and shall see you all tomorrow.TaTa for now.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


'Abby' NCIS.

I have the next ten days off and we got off to a flying start.Council workers arrived at 7 a.m. to collect the old furniture which my ovver 'arf and I manhandled out into the front garden last night. After that excitement (for the dog) I took aforesaid canine out for a loooong walk. Consequently I am now shattered and she is bouncing around full of life.She met various other nondescript mongrels whilst out, not an identifiable breed amongst them, similar to herself then.This time she did not get an opportunity to chase any swans. Apparently, if there is bird flu around dogs are immune to it.Cats however are not which excited my son somewhat.
"They won't be put down,will they?"
"We'll keep them in...and douse them in TCP".
He was not impressed with this bit of quick thinking on my part,muttering about fighting anyone who calls to take them away.I'd like see any bugger try to catch them although a tin opener and a tin will improve one's chances.Food and sleep figure large in their daily lives with the occasional annoying intrusion from ourselves.
Anyway, having drunk nothing stronger than tea last night and watched NCIS for entertainment with an extremely delectable Abby (Pauly Perrette), I shall partake of some fine ales today courtesy of the Tap.Oddly enough I was not in the mood for a beer yesterday preferring a nice cuppa chai instead.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Another day done...

Woohoo! Finished work for today; No.1 son gone out to metal and punk mayhem; Quiznight in the pub and some new beers.
I'll admit I am easily pleased in life.Good beer,a decent ruby and good music all with friends is one example of an excellent night for me.At the other end of the scale, a strong mug of tea ( Assam ) and a good book in fromt of the fire surrounded by cats and the dog at my feet.She enjoys being massaged by my feet but it's never caught on with the cats. I watched 'The Last Samurai' yesterday and i thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't usually like Tom Cruise but he was fine in this film...a good action adventure which did not stretch his talents too far.
" Baldrick,have you heard of irony?"
"Yes sir, it's like goldy and bronzy"
Strangely enough I also enjoyed 'War of the Worlds' also with Tom Cruise.I do wonder whether making that movie tied in with his scientology beliefs.Alien lizards inhabiting George W.,etc...Maybe I've matured and as well as relegating the various subtexts in each movie, I can also accommodate various acting styles including the two-dimensional.Anyway, I am off for some grub and thence to the pub.
TaTa for now.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Linkin up

Well that was fun and games.After an hour I finally managed to work out how to set up a link. It will be a steep learning curve but worth it in the end.The council phoned and their speedy removal service will be here in three days time!
I'm orf to the pub for a well earned pint.

Hot seat P.C.

Gratuitious image of one of my childhood a trendy place to live.

Hurrah! At last I can access my P.C. My son has torn himself away to listen to some metal music ( Trivium anyone ).Mind you, he has just bought the latest Kerrang and the 'free' cover of Metallica's 'Master of Puppets. Mmm some of it is quite good.
I have noticed as I get older that I do appreciate music that I would have binned as a teenager.As a secret teenage Abba fan during the punk years of the '70's, I can now freely admit to liking them.I have also reached the stage in life where I either shake my head at the charts or I am generally ignorant of them. The last albums I bought are Goldfrapp, The Magic Numbers and the best of Al Green. Oh and Selling England by the Pound. Genesis...I do like Prog Rock except for Yes.
You can say I have a catholic taste where music is concerned...swing the incense. I have introduced my son to The Who, Led Zep and Hendrix. As he is learning to play the guitar I take the opportunity to play the blues to him but, it is neither loud enough nor yet relevant for one of his tender years.In the language of youth..'That's crap Dad'. Sigh...I was just like him according to my mother.I hope she's wrong. A pause as I put John Lee Hooker on...that's better.
Today I shall mostly be chasing up the tardy local council refuse collection dept. My thanks to you CherryPie, I would have been better off contacting some other agency and recycling the furniture. Unfortunately, the council now have my money but I shall persevere.Later today I shall attempt to set up some links on this blog...cue swearing and cussing.We shall hopefully see the results later.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

It's Sunday...I'm working on it.

Local weather conditions...brrr.

Aaah, lovely.
Work finished and I returned home to a lovely roast and then Time Team.
Roman remains, Phil in a new hat and a successful dig..all in 3 days but encapsulated in just under an hours worth of wonderful viewing pleasure.
Could it get any better? Of course it kulfi with maple syrup to follow whilst I listen to Arabic music. I can ignore the weather outside and pretend I am far away...the warmth of the sun as I lounge beside the Red Sea, a warm breeze caressing my cheeks.
Time to turn over and lie on my back.
It is satisfying to do a good days work and to then relax, chillin' out.Just another five days of work to go and then the Easter hols. A whole week off and no plans beyond ensuring the family is happy.
Day trips out methinks, maybe even to a local metropilis to view the museums. I can just see the excitement in my sons eyes when I suggest this.I shall bide my time and suggest it at an opportune moment. Meanwhile I am orf to find an internet backgammon game.
Cheerio for now.

Friday, April 07, 2006

What a beautiful morning...

"Did you just sneeze then?".
Awoke too early with a thick head as a result of Thursday quiz night and some rather tasty beers. Having had March as an alcohol free month, I am still re-acquainting myself with the heady delights of real ale once again.The quiz? We lost out yet again to professional ringers. The beer? Village 'White Boar' and 'Old Raby Ale'.
Enjoyable and it's only a quiz...bastards always win.
It's my second day off and we are expecting some new furniture today. To get rid of the old stuff I have to send a form to the local council with £20 and they will contact me in due course with a date for collection.
I had considered the other possibilities:
Pay the local youths to remove it and in the local time honoured fashion..They burn it on the waste ground.
Inadvertently lose it myself and the local youths burn it on the local waste...etc..
Curse my Guardian reading social conscience...
I'll now have piles of furniture until the council pulls its collective finger out.
I could flog it on e-Bay.
" Second hand furniture as featured in future episode of 'Flog It'...Antiques of the future...sat on by royalty...Tessa and Tony sat on it thrashing out their respective futures".
I must now away and attend to a variety of essential chores starting with the separation of the poor dog from the bullying cats as they scramble for breakfast.
The nimble,fleetfooted felines usually have the best of everything until it comes to grub.Muttleys greed takes over and the wolf emerges at mealtimes.We have to remove her before we feed the cats...last year the cats appeared to develop a new sleekness courtesy of the dog.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

First post.

Hmmm..Rather than leap upon the stage amidst pyrotechnics and a fanfare of of brass I prefer to sidle on quietly.
Friends have suggested I create a blog but I have always demurred.
" There are more than enough blogs out there,etc...".
Opinions to the left of me,opinions to the right of me and some evil smelling ones in a precariously perched large bucket just above my head.So I am adding my opinions and observations of life to the mix.Sometimes they'll be erudite opinions and at other times they'll be trite.When alcohol is added then they'll be gibberish. On with the muttley (Woof!)...
Today is happily being spent away from work and attending to all those little jobs that pile up when you are gainfully employed earning the mighty dollar.Shopping for essentials,paying bills and sipping tea whilst considering the jobs that need doing around the house....far too many I'm afraid to tackle immediately so I'll put the kettle on for more tea and contemplation.
Then I'll walk the dog....