Friday, April 29, 2011

Apart from one glimpse of the TV during a brief discussion with Mrs C. I have avoided the TV and radio thus far today. An honourable mention in dispatches to Planet Rock for an ordinary music day with no mention of royalty. I still believe a quick trip out to Las Vegas and an Elvis wedding would have sufficed. Cheaper, fun and a holiday rolled in as well plus some good music.

The over indulgence in beer and chocolate last night left me feeling somewhat lacking in va va voom this morning but a pot of fresh coffee and grilled bacon sorted me out. Some shopping plus browsing in bookshops... well, lots of browsing in bookshops brought a welcome return to equilibrium. Walking the bouncing mutt also helped. I now feel refreshed and ready for the world several hours later. So much so I spent some time in the garden where some of my tomato plants did not survive the move to the plastic greenhouse. There is also no sign of any chilli plants. It was a long shot using old seeds and I have had to purchase two new chilli plants. They'll stay indoors until the nights are consistently warmer. Looking for a suitable photo I came across this...

                     Photo courtesy of

My plastic greenhouse is shop bought and a lot smaller so as to take advantage of the shelter and avoid the Montgolfier effect that kiboshed the previous two greenhouses. My other purchase was a new computer chair to replace the knackered chair which caused a certain numbness in the knackers (excuse the medical terminology) after being seated for more than twenty minutes. I did look longingly at some plastic inflatable chairs and I have suggested to Mrs C. that bean bags and inflatable furniture is the future for home furnishings. She pointed out the downside of having three cats and anything inflatable. The inflatable paddling pools for those all too brief English summers rarely survived the curiosity of our cats.
Time for more coffee and check if the all clear has sounded yet.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rather like my cat Mog I have been sheltering from the world of blogging and attending to a busy schedule at work and at home. As a positive I have lost 22 pounds in weight over the past six weeks having joined fat fighters. I can certainly notice the improvements and I feel much better for it. A long way to go but a diet is for life, not just after Christmas! The mutt is certainly enjoying the longer walks. Work is the same old same old... a post for another day. I am pleased to have the next four days off and my plans are to do as little as possible. There is a party in one of the local parks tomorrow for Bert and Ethel's wedding and I might pop in. However, being a staunch republican I may be joining some friends in a local hostelry that has no TV.  This may involve visiting several until I find the right one. Alternatively, a BBQ with music and beer in the garden would perhaps be cheaper. I just have to sort out a new barbecue.
Next week rhere will be the local elections and I have enjoyed reading some of the 'literature' shoved through our letter box and straight to the recycling box. I still have the Socialist Party one on my desk because it is brilliantly bonkers. It blames everybody for the current situation and is vehemently opposed to the various cuts. Not a single word as to how they intend to deal with the situation or what their policies are. They just might get my protest vote although there are two independents standing as well. I may vote for the one who likes cats and proposes sending bankers to fight our foreign wars with defunct blackberries and blunt protractors. As for AV... a definite no because it is a complete con. It will be No.1 son's first chance to vote and he is keen to do so. Anyway, the following video gets my vote and I am off to enjoy the reasonable weather...


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy St. George's day!

This will be a short post as I finally have three days off after a hectic week at work and the sun is shining outside. I plan to enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and get stuck into the garden. Plenty of seedlings and young plants to be moved and planted into various pots. So raise your pint glass to St. George and go forth to slay ye dragones!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

After over imbibing of the barley and hops last night I am having a quiet day in. Mrs C. is unwell so my day off is a welcome quiet one administering to her needs. As always on a day off a large cafetiere of freshly ground coffee sits before me and is fortifying the inner man. It struck me I have no idea what a coffee plant looks like but with google I have now rectified that, as well as learning the history of coffee. Interesting that black slaves en route to the Arabic peninsula from Africa chewed the beans and brought it with them. Maybe Cameroon can apologise and offer some largesse for that because the British empire made an appearance in that area several centuries later.  It is fascinating to see how trade, especially of sugar, coffee, etc... made the various empires, led to the growth of insurance (Lloyds)  and enhanced banking, as well as the despicable trade in slaves. Back to the coffee... I tend to avoid it on working days because of its laxative effect and we rarely have time to brew up a cuppa. Mrs C. drinks a lot of instant coffee but she refuses to touch the real stuff. As with my previous experiments to make the perfect Martini I have been trying various coffee brands including Jamaican Blue Mountain. I still haven't hit on a favourite yet although I like the Java beans. For the sake of convenience I generally buy a supermarket Italian blend for ground coffee and whichever beans take my fancy at the time. I will also get around to trying "Camp" coffee which I remember from my childhood as something my mother drank.

As for over imbibing last night... four bottles of various excellent beers thanks to Tesco's 'Four bottles for a fiver'. Until I accompanied Mrs C. to buy her baccy in Sainsbugs and found their beers reduced even further! However, I had planned on today being a lazy day after the frenetic activity of the past week at work and a much needed day to recharge my batteries.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


Having cut the 'lawn' today I am currently suffering from very itchy eyes despite anti-histamines. But the grass needed cutting and the sun was shining gloriously. I got stuck in and then surveyed my work whilst sipping a welcome mug of tea... then the bunged up nose and itchy eyes crept up on me. However, it's a small price to pay and there are far worse afflictions compared to a bit of hayfever. The garden now looks tidier and the grass actually appears healthy considering the bad winter and a frequently urinating dog. She will only piss on grass!
Mrs C. suggested we place bets on the Grand National today and given her propensity for picking out winners but not backing them we popped in to the bookies and placed an each way bet. My horse came in second so I think I've won a few quid but I only picked it following the racing tips of Clare Balding. That's a pint or a G&T I owe her if our paths ever cross. I rarely bet on the horses as I cannot see the fascination and my gambling is generally confined to the Fantasy tax (lottery) each week. My Dad was a major contributor to the local turf accountant as well as the local pubs. I inherited the latter but I worked briefly in a bookies when I was eighteen and I could see what a mugs game it was even at that tender age. I have been to Ascot for a stag do and it was a good day out but I have never wanted to repeat the experience. Banger and stock car racing appealed more to me rather than horses. Mind you, I have never been dog racing although I have frequently gone to the dogs! I have been told that 'The Dogs' is a good fun evening out although Doncaster is a long way to go for an evening out. I will collect my winnings tomorrow and that'll be my lot with the bookies until the next Grand national.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Driving Miss Daisy...

I bit the bullet and I bought a small plastic greenhouse for the seedlings when they are ready. Cheap as chips in a local poundstretcher where I wandered around looking at all the stuff Woolies used to sell. Grimsby is full of pound stores and they are generally crowded as people look to save money or are forced to buy cheap goods in these straitened times. Although a day off I was up very early, dog walked and necessary shopping completed. But after a very long day and a lot of mileage yesterday to complete assessments and training staff in care homes all I want to do today is mooch around and relax. If anything I need is not within walking distance I can live without it.

Similar to the 'Beast'.

 I bought the little Suzuki as a runabout and for the thirty mile commute to and from work. But it is having to cope with long journeys and so am I. Regular long trips over to Nottinghamshire or Leicestershire see me prepared with the ipod touch plugged in, good real coffee in the flask and planned pit stops. The seats in the car get very uncomfortable on journeys of more than fifty miles so a walk and good stretch is necessary. I know long journeys here in the UK are short trips in the US but our dreadful third world roads only enhance the journey! I am even considering a satnav although I still prefer ready reckoning and a good map. I'll be alright when solar flares burn the satellites to a crisp... well, according to those channel five made for TV on a budget disaster movies. Suffice to say my days off generally see me walking and avoiding any driving if possible.

                                                         Potential makeover....

No.1 son is taking driving lessons and work have suggested they may consider him as a potential van driver when he passes his test. He is looking around for cheap cars but it's the cost of insurance which has caused him to take a deep breath. I suggested he buy an old and very cheap Nissan Micra or a Ford fiesta: cheap for spares for the inevitable prang and costs will be low. As he is getting excited about entering the world of motoring I see it as freedom from public transport but otherwise a necessary chore and expense. With unleaded petrol now costing £1.30 per litre I am increasingly drawn to future possibilities of working nearer home and returning to cycling again. Speaking of which it's time for my daily turn on the exercise bike.


Monday, April 04, 2011

The garden bears a resemblance to the above picture but after a long and at times difficult winter it currently looks a mess. I spent yesterday morning sowing various vegetables in plastic propagators and the back room has several dotted about it. I also started to tidy up the garden although the green rubbish bin was quickly filled as I set about one large bush in particular. I could do with removing it completely but it can wait until the end of the year. It is occupying the space I plan to put a small greenhouse in but there is also an old rose bush there which I like and will keep for one more year. I'm not sure about moving an old rose bush and I suspect any such attempt to prune it back, dig it out and replant elsewhere next winter is likely to kill it. A trip to the council rubbish site is also needed to get rid of lots of rubbish that has accumulated in the garden over the past year. So lots to do later this month as the weather warms up when I have a couple of days off.

Mothers day yesterday and a lengthy chat with my Mum who told me about a care home near to her which is under investigation for neglecting the residents. This prompted her remark that a bottle of good champagne and a lot of pills is her preferred choice for the future rather than neglect in a care home. I suggested she goes back to her plan B... break windows and assault an MP. That will guarantee her a roof over her head, three square meals a day and a life of Riley courtesy of her majesty!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

I have been somewhat tardy in posting over the last month with the usual excuse offered. Work and real life got in the way with lots of early nights, deadlines to meet and making the most of any good weather. Not that anything exciting has happened. Work is busier than ever with lots of referrals for the crisis job. Given the current economic situation and our lack of staff I don't see that getting any easier. I guess I should be happy with the increase in work but seeing people crumble to the point where mental health services have to intervene is no cause to feel thankful for. Having just worked the last two weeks with only one day off is the reason I am so glad to have this weekend off. I haven't any special plans apart from attending to the garden. Another new rose plant in, a climbing rose this time, plus compost bought and seeds ready to go into propagators. After the disaster of last year I have waited until now to sow seeds. Mrs C. has new solar lights in to replace those broken (waggy tailed dog!) plus some colour changing spinning ones / wind chimes. I am expecting planes to land each night. Lots of seeds with the inevitable salad leaves, chillis and tomatoes plus various flowers. No.1 son broke both garden chairs in his enthusiam as he leaps into them. The exuberance and inconsideration of youth. So a couple of garden chairs will be on my shopping list. I am ever hopeful of a hot summer and I have plenty of mosquito repellents ready for when I sit out with a good book and cold beer. Here's hoping for sunshine over the Easter holidays and long lazy days.