Monday, December 31, 2007


Less than 12 hours until the old year is laid to rest and the squawling infant that is 2008 begins. I shall be staying in tonight and giving the celebrations a miss because of this dreadful leurgy. But I have one or two excellent beers ready to celebrate.

Celebrate what I hear you ask? The old year wasn't so good for many people and we are all getting older.What is there to celebrate?
The New Year brings a sense of anticipation, of things yet to be and endless possibilities. For some people this could be new relationships, for others it might be new jobs. The optimist in me views the future as a blank page and it is for me to write my future. I don't have expectations of winning the lottery or of being discovered as a wonderful new talent. I can enact small changes in my life and make some choices. But for me it is realistic change, not the media babble sold to the young that everything is possible. It isn't. I can break the 10 second barrier for the 100 metres only if I fell off a cliff. Nor will I juggle chainsaws (and survive the attempt!). The New Year is an artificial construct because the day is no different to the one before or the one afterwards. But because of the mythology built up around it, we do get excited. This year I shall celebrate quietly at home with family and make the necessary phone calls to loved ones in the morning.

Enjoy 2008 and remember....It's what you make it!


Saturday, December 29, 2007

After three weeks of threatening to break out it has finally happened. I am full of a dreadful cold plus added swollen glandness (fnarr fnarr). My eyes and nose are leaking (yeuk!), my right ear has gone deaf and, my throat has a buzz saw tearing away at it. I will apply the traditional cure

Hot toddy, night nurse and comfort food whilst wrapped up warm and watching old sitcoms on the TV. The only fly in the soup is that I now have to go out and buy these things. Wish me luck...manflu can be dangerous.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

YouTube is a mine of excellent music and the above just sounds loud!

L.E. popped around after a little boxing day sales shopping. She described a scene of horror and mayhem. Happily, I have no intention of going further than the pub for a pint and to trawl the net for interesting music and videos.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Good grief!
It is Christmas day and I have had to call the polis out to deal with a bunch of drunken knobhead teenagers who thought it a good idea to trash a neighbours car.

The two young police women were very nice...they get younger every year!
Or is it that I get older?

A Merry Christmas to you all.

It very nearly went pear shaped with extra holly and bells on. The big bird was stuffed and dressed with it's tin foil helmet on. Oven door opened and Voila!
IT DO NOT FIT! It very seriously does not fit despite swearing and twisting the tin and big bird this way and that. Bugger! I suggest taking the legs off and a slightly smaller roasting tin. However, No.1 daughter to the rescue and we hare off to her place of abode with the big bird to place it in her big oven. No.1 daughter (we'll call her L.E.) has never cooked a turkey before and it is a big responsibility. If it goes wrong we could be reduced to this.
L.E. stays awake until 4 am in pursuance of cooking this most excellent turkey despite our reassurances that it'll be alright on a low gas. She admitted to worrying about the big bird: under/over cooking it, burning the house down or ravenous students nicking the big bird for sandwiches. But at 11 today I collected both birds and all was well...cooked to perfection and praise given to L.E. for a job well done.

I've had my delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings and I am now stuffed.
Games played and dog walked out upon the empty streets. As it was dusk there was lots of birdsong and the occasional drone of a car in the distance. Then it was all shattered by the screeching of a car alarm. Home to ensure the mutt had her turkey dinner and everyone is now sprawled in front of the TV apart from No.1 who is playing his new acoustic guitar...he is one very happy bunny. Mrs.C received her present of an 'adopted tiger' from some friends and she is very pleased with it. So any donations to 'adopt' our equally fierce cats is welcome. I can ensure that the £100.00 pounds you send will ensure the very beer best care and attention their owner they can receive. What stuffing goes with cat?

All the best to my occasional reader.
I am off to polish off Xmas pudding and pull another cracker or two.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Only two 'sleeps' to go as No.1 would say until the day itself.
Stockings are ready and the silver platter spit-polished 'til it shines in the reflected glow of the tree lights ready for the obligatory mince pie and glass of sherry for Mr Claus. At work today dispensing good cheer and sweeties to our customers punters patients service users. As per usual we are the stop gap for people in need whilst all other teams shut down. But we have our tree up and plenty of chocolate and biscuits ready for the happy holiday. Oddly enough, Christmas itself is a reasonably quiet time for us apart from the steady flow of people who deliberately self harm. It gets busier after the new year. But, the one thing that is predictable in working in crisis teams is the very unpredictability of the work. Tomorrow is my last shift for a week so I am getting slightly demob the Chrimble mood.
Time for a Christmas libation.


Friday, December 21, 2007

The Craic was mighty...

Up at 5 am to shop without the crowds. Certainly no crowds and the shopping completed in a trice. No screaming kids, grumpy pensioners or scrum downs in the bread aisle. The downside is that I am knackered and I made rather too freely of the delightful 'London Pride' last night. We did not win the quiz but we did win £25-00 in the raffle which paid for our night out.
Tomorrow morning we collect the last of the shopping (meat order and alcohol!) but, sadly, I am back at work for the next three days.
I'm off to grab 40 winks before Mrs.C thinks of dragging me into town again.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Part 2: 'In-store Xmas music'.

...almost's got a deer in it!

"Thought Shower"

....and why not. An antidote to the in-store Xmas music.

Full of leurgy (Again!) and recovering from the team Christmas do last night.
Alcohol consumed = Nil, because I was driving.

Roll on quiz tonight because I have no need to drive and I can have a beer.
I shall be arguing for the next Christmas do to be nearer home territory and for a pub crawl and a slap up curry at Mrs Miggins curry and pie shoppe instead of an overpriced turkey dinner. More boorish boistrousness is needed.


Sunday, December 16, 2007


The computer has been full of viruses lately and necessitated a variety of pills and potions to help it along. My usual prophylactic has not protected it and I unleashed the 'big guns', using spybot on the advice of a delightful student who is currently languishing with our team.
A word of advice:


Spybot instructions tell you to read everything in full and to engage brain before deleting all the red nasties. I didn't read it properly and I had to perform an immediate system restore after things started to go horribly wrong. Apparently there is something 'orrible lurking in the hard drive's innards and I do scan daily to delete the little buggers, but they come back. Any sensible advice is welcome but I draw the line at large vegetables and mud wrestling (unless I am in the audience and the wrestlers are young nubile women).
Today was spent in a leisurely the roast, walking the mutt, watching DVD's (three for £15.00 at sainsbugs), listening to good music and fuelled by some excellent ground coffee. Collecting a weeks worth of dogshit from the garden (the Poo Patrol) was an unwelcome blip in an otherwise delightful day.
Dad is 'comfortable'; hospital speak for 'nothing happening and we are busy so get off the phone and let us get on with our work please'...welcome news. So back to playing backgammon and listening to this excellent programme.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Some good Dad is comfortable in hospital although attempting to contact the ward is next to impossible. Uncles and Aunts are keeping me up to speed. Mrs.C spoke with them and asked me what language they were speaking. The accent is strong and they do speak quickly. Surprisingly, I quickly adopt the nuances and phrasing after talking with them but that's to be expected. Every summer we spent two months in Ireland and we would return having acquired our accents back: a combination of Ulster and midlands Irish!
But he is being cared for and hopefully he will recover fairly quickly.

More good news - I received my OU results and I passed. As I expected, an average mark but I did bugger all revision for the exam because my enthusiasm for the course had all but evaporated. Apart from completing this shortened psychosis course in February, I intend to concentrate on the psychotherapy training over the next year. It is bizarre, all this extra training and studying and apart from the extra qualifications I do not receive any extra pay. Only in nursing... having said that, I keep looking at the OU curriculum and salivating over the history courses. Sadly, that can wait for another year.

All the presents bought and wrapped up under the tree. Just the shopping for the food itself over the two days of feasting and celebrations. A work colleague buys a special Christmas dinner for her cat. Sod that! Ours feast on the turkey, ham, and beef, etc...over the week. The mutt eats almost anything including the cats share if no one is looking. However, we do keep the madness to a minimum and don't overstock on the food. We used to have a hamper-a-la-farepack but gave that up years ago. A lot of the food could be bought more cheaply at Asda's and others weren't needed. Piccalilli....yeuch! Fresh veg from the market, meat ordered in, lots of fruit and the obligatory mince pies and yule log. As for alcohol, I am usually working so little of that. This year I have Christmas off and I can relax from 8 am on the day itself (I am on call on Christmas Eve). So a glass or two of a nice dry Sherry and some good wine on the day itself with the meal and the fambly around...'Deal or no Deal' after dinner (yes, I am hooked).
Yes, I am looking forward to Christmas...nine days to go.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Some bad news this evening.
My father has been rushed into hospital with a suspected stroke. he lives over in the Irish midlands so it was initially a bit of a palaver trying to get information but I got through to the right ward eventually. There is not much I can do except to keep in touch by phone with relatives over there and await more news. Maybe a little prayer...

The other bad news is less personal but more immediate. I was out walking the mutt this evening and just around the corner from us a host of police and ambulances suddenly arrived amidst a cacophony of lights and sirens. Another incident according to the police who questioned us, possibly similar to the murder over two weeks ago. Reports of youths arguing and a chase? From that scene to the news about my father...Darkened room needed. Mrs.C suggested a pint in our local to steady the old nerves. It has been a week since I last had a pint there.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Mrs.C: "What do you want for Xmas?"
Me: "Don't know...CD's, DVD's, surprise me".
Mrs.C: "I never know what to buy you, you're so difficult to buy for".
Me: "No I am not...I like reading, music, gardening (after a fashion), beer, gadgets and...."
Mrs.C: "But it's never the right thing...obscure wailing music, odd books and the allotment book you wanted has sold out".
Me: "Find me a science fiction book where the central character is a time travelling cat loving historian who has a talking cat as a travelling companion and he brews real ale...put some swedish nymphettes in it as well".
Mrs.C: "So it'll be socks again".
Me: "Yep".

I am apparently awkward, especially when it comes to presents....every year. The 32" HD TV, the i-phone, the years supply of real ale and the all expenses paid trip around India for six months (I'll find a dentist over there!) aren't within budget.
I helpfully pointed out the large bound collection of Sherlock Holmes in the cheap bookshop (I'm hoping Mrs.C reads this).
There are some presents I do not want:

Reality TV shows - any twat or rubbish connected to this cheap, puerile shite will be consigned to Oxfam.

Modern 'RnB' / hip-hop / boy/girl bands - Consigned to the bin after hammer treatment.

Books on sport or cars - read once (possibly) and to Oxfam.

Twee ornaments - fucking horrible.

Rude gnomes are welcome....liven up the swamp garden.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Scent must be Xmas.

I've bin busy...working, Christmasy things, working, etc...Sadly, work has taken up the bulk of my time and the office politics is hotting up with the team now divided between two factions. It makes for interesting discussions and one day I shall blog about it all, when I have moved on to pastures new.
I haven't yet dived into the morass that is Xmas shopping but I can no longer put it off. Tomorrow I take the plunge although it will only be for one or two items.
What astonishes me is how much stuff people actually buy, trolleyloads of food, tinsel, 'seasonal' crap. All for a couple of days although with some of the local shops opening on Boxing day...what holiday for shop workers? Panic, panic, rush, rush, rush, must buy, must have mentality. For fucks sake, keep it simple and keep it family. I take the view that the important part is the meal with the family on Xmas day itself and the time spent together as a family enjoying the day playing silly games and having a laugh. It is not the expensive presents and , oddly enough, it is not necessarily the religious aspects. Jesus was possibly born on January 7th or 6th (Ethiopian and Coptic beliefs) or in March or July or September, all depending upon which evidence is read. But if I was to ascribe a spiritual aspect to the celebration, it would be in the context of family. Whether that be blood relatives or friends. It's bright, it could be a Dionesion, Saturnalian, Mithraic or Celtic festival. But it is mid-winter, it is cold and dark, the bright lights and rich food is all a part of it...celebrate!
I do like the 'traditional' English Christmas; primarily Dickensian in concept with hot chestnuts, carols in the snowy streets and bright jewel like lights on dark nights with hot punch and conviviality. Wholly unrealistic of course but it still appears attractive. Sadly, very little chance of snow and bright artificial lights with the modern penchant for shiny trinkets. That's life I guess.

Beer of choice: O'Hanlons 'Original Port Stout'.
Music: The Oyster Band 'Pearls form the Oysters'.
Mood: Contemplative.
Socks: None.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Cheer up video no. 1.

For all of you folks who have had cold callers at an inconvenient time...Enjoy!
I think I am beginning to suffer the effects of SAD. Certainly, the desire to hibernate and watch old British sitcoms, fatigue, aches and pains and, irritability accompanied by a lower threshold for numpties is more noticeable.

One way to tackle it is a mid-winter holiday to somewhere warm and sunny like Egypt. However, money and Christmas bills put the kibosh on that. That'll have to wait until No.1 is working and earning his own money (Does quick calculation...That many years!). Trinidad would be nice and currently it has scattered showers and a high of 89 degrees. Ho hum....I'll keep buying the lottery tickets.
I guess the other reason for my current self-pitying whinging is that I am not a happy bunny at work. I tend to be very careful when posting about work because of confidentiality. But this time it is work practices and staff which have pissed me off. It could be a sign that I am ready for a change but, I would like to stick with this job for another couple of years before moving on to pastures new. I am financially tied to this job for another year and the course I am doing needs another two years to complete.
I guess all in all I will have to batten down the hatches for the winter and look to other ways to cheer myself up.


Saturday, December 01, 2007

I returned to work today and the Christmas rush has started...busy, busy, busy.
It matches the scene I witnessed in our local hellhole shopping centre yesterday. Bearing in mind it was not yet December but the panicking, stress and verbals occurred in spades. I thought I was witnessing the filming of "Xmas Zombie Shopping Centre" and looked eagerly for the film crew. Why else would couples fight, an elderly madman rant at the world and a heavily pregnant woman abuse other shoppers? All with 20% off!
Who sez Xmas is too commercial!