Saturday, January 26, 2013

Some days off to use up my annual leave and it has coincided with the snow melting off... well most of it. This has been a long, dark and drawn out month with the brightness and glitter of Christmas a distant memory. No.1 son has been working hard over the past four weeks and his pay day is tomorrow, hence his excitement. He plans to go out with some friends to play snooker and thence to a pub or two. My cars MOT is due tomorrow and knowing that the brakes need a thorough overhaul I suspect my Saturday night will be a quiet one in.
I shelved this post initially but I have decided to continue and update it today. The car failed the MOT and more expense for brakes, wheel bearings again, etc... So a quiet Saturday night in is de riguer and possibly will be for the month ahead. C'est la vie. I'll just have to tighten my belt again and use it as an excuse to brew more beer, purely for reasons of economy of course. My last lot is all but consumed and the longer I left it the tastier it became. My next batch will be a stout which I haven't brewed before.  This article is the latest mainstream media to spread the good word about home brewing although I agree with some of the comments that £1.00 a pint is too high and 50-60p is the usual price per pint for home brew. I also bought in the latest batch of seeds as I anticipate the lengthening and brighter days with spring in the not too distant future. Chillies, cucumbers and tomato seeds purchased and I priced up some decent compost in which to plant them. So some things to look forward to and take my mind off the car repair bill, the anticipated 4 pence rise in petrol, the inevitable mileage at work and long days at work. However, for the latter I do have a cunning plan, more cunning than a fox with a PhD in craftiness.
 No 1 son has bought himself a bike helmet, gloves and priced up a moped at the shop where one of his friends work. He intends to pass his basic bike test and buy a "'ped" to increase his independence and stop relying upon a non-existent bus service. He has his eye on the future for a more powerful bike. I'm ok with it having been a biker in my youth but Mrs C. is not very happy with this. He'll be twenty in March and he is a generally sensible adult, certainly more sensible than I was at that age. He's off out playing snooker and his old man is on the net, drinking cider and listening to country and rock music on spotify. Life in the middle-aged lane! It is time to refresh my glass, refresh the music and to dip back into my kindle. I hope wherever you are you are enjoying your Saturday night.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thanks to old Leg Iron* for this Fifty things to do before you die. I usually glance at rubbish like the article, perform a quick scan and mentally tick off items and I then just as quickly forget all about it. But this time I will unashamedly copy LI and tick off the items on my blog. The ones I have completed: 8, 14 (very bad guitar and happily all forgotten now), 26, 35, 38, 48 and 49.

Those I intend to do are as follows:
5. An obvious one as I gradually work towards freeing myself (are we ever truly free?) from the dead pledge.
13. I would like to travel to India but we'll see how the retirement "plan" works out (see Silk Road below).
21. This is a work in progress as I studied French at school and German in evening classes. Every now and again I revisit the French language and realise that I have a long way to go.
29 and 41. I would like a small boat and I may possibly realise my desire to buy a small camper van in a couple of years time. I have no desire to own a yacht and as for a Winnebago around NZ... I prefer the idea of the Romahome tour of Scotland for the old castles and various whisky distilleries. The latter is most definitely achievable and I believe it would be more fun and I'll get to see the Northern Lights.
42. Never invite disappointment...

A lot of the other suggestions on the list do not interest me. I had plans to follow the Silk route but given the propensity for the West to invade, kill or just plain annoy the locals I have crossed that plan off my list (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan). Seriously (31, 32, 36, 45 & 47), why would I want to "achieve" these things.
On my alternative list is a desire to study local history, grow fruit and veg, brew beer, keep cats and enjoy the fruits of all of these realistic achievements. These are things I am already doing but I plan to continue doing more of when retirement beckons which hopefully is now not too far away. Anything on that list already achieved or appeals to you?

* You can find Leg Iron on my blog list to the side. He isn't to everyone's taste but I enjoy his blog.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A week has flown by since I last blogged, primarily because of work, work and yet more work. I bumped into an old work colleague yesterday on one of the wards and she informed me I looked exhausted. That brought me up short because I had last seen her six weeks ago and in that short space of time the job has had such an effect upon me. That's despite very early nights, little alcohol, a healthy diet and ensuring a multivitamin and extra zinc tablet keep me in good health. I have to be honest and say that this is the hardest job I have ever done in terms of stress and general opprobrium from all quarters. Hence my weekends off are now a welcome godsend. Despite enjoying a few beers last night I was up before 7 am and attending to the needs of the various hungry beasties. I was determined to enjoy a good (slimming world) "fry up" and then a long walk with the pooch despite the heavy rain. What really cheered me up was an attractive young woman smiling at me and saying hello. I must have been smiling because of the pooches determination to carry her latest precious, a rather large log. Hence the returned smile and greeting which warmed the cockles of the heart of this staid old codger. I must endeavour to smile more often although the news and general societal collapse makes this harder than ever. A number of things make me smile and occasionally laugh out loud. One band always brings a smile to my face and a spring to my step...

Infectious doesn't even begin to describe their music for me and hopefully I can get around to experiencing them live sooner rather than later. Please enjoy and TTFN.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

After the past few days back at work I am totally like the above.

One day I shall post an imaginary tale about managerial incompetence, poorly skilled and hard of thinking staff (NHS and other agencies) and  "How to dump my anxieties upon others late on Friday afternoon before escaping for wine 101".
After twelve hours, no lunch and finally getting home at 8 pm the hero of this tale collapsed exhausted into a comfortable armchair and finally had their first meal since 06.30. A tale for another day perhaps...

I have opted for a dry January, primarily to save money because January is a long month (Christmas pay a week early) and the fuel bill for the car is now becoming ridiculous. I drove over 2200 miles alone last month although the work mileage was over 900 miles. For a change I bought in various coffee beans, so my drug of choice is freshly brewed coffee over the coming weekend to replace the alcohol and chocolates. There is a righteous finger wagging health prod-noses campaign to have a dry January. However, my dry January has nothing to do with that and more to kick start the dieting as well as to save money. Now they are starting on children's breakfast cereals as well. On top of that Westminster council want to reduce benefits for obese people unless they diet and attend the gym. Squashed by hungry fat muggers on the streets of London will be the next Mail public scare story.
 "There were two of 'em, one either side and they squashed me until I handed over my hamburger. It was frightenin'... I can't leave the 'ouse since it 'appened"
 Personal responsibility and choice come to mind as well as considering the underlying reasons as to why children and adults generally are getting fatter. Things that come to mind are the breakdown of societal / family and personal values and supports, a UK obsession with material wealth and government fuckwittery and interference. I guess I am socially liberal (gay marriage... why not? State register offices can perform the ceremony) but economically conservative. Hence, if you want a large family then that is fine so long as you pay for it. Female bishops... none of my business as I am not a church goer but I don't see why not. I considered this last night after a few hours spent in the company of a Christian whom I suspect has very conservative views. I have always considered the church as a social construct and not necessarily a true reflection of the New Testament Jesus. So why not gay or female bishops? But the media will happily attack the C of E whilst pointedly ignoring Islam and other religions. Perhaps the C of E needs to issue their own fatwas and act upon them, dragging themselves down to the level of the other literalist religious inadequates and tossers. I appear to have gone off on a tangent but I truly believe if you want to practice your religion please go ahead and do so. Keep it completely separate from the state and the laws of the secular state apply to all. If that means C of E is no longer the state religion so be it.

But finger wagging state funded prod-noses should be sacked. Research into diet, salt, alcohol, etc... and provide solid gold standard evidence by all means. Disseminate this to the public and allow us to make our own minds up based upon this evidence. Extracting taxes from people who smoke, drink, etc... and using that money to lecture, threaten and lie to those who pay your wages... Not required and the prod-noses should be sacked. They can try to earn an honest crust laden with saturated fats or not because it is an individual's choice. We are not children but continue to treat the public as children who need to be placed upon the naughty step will inevitably lead to one hell of a tantrum.

n.b. This may interest you regarding recent BMI and health news.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

                                      Happy New Year.
                             I hope 2013 is a bright and happy year for you all.

I've just returned from a long walk to blow away the cobwebs and clear my head as well as keep the pooch happy. Camera dusted off and I took a few practice shots in the sunshine including the photo below of urban regeneration in Grimsby...

Oddly enough it is ideal for dog walking, wildlife and local kids skateboard there. The potential for a park or housing is there but decay appears to be the order of the day. But for today I shared the space with several dog walkers, I watched one angler who appeared content with the world at this moment in time and we watched the swans awaiting their daily bread. I am avoiding the usual media nonsense looking back at 2012 and predicting the year ahead. Sometimes it is good to live in and for the moment without inviting anxiety or regret in to trouble you. As for resolutions... back on the slimming world diet after two weeks of ignoring it and just the search for a job nearer home. Time to grind the beans for a fresh brew of coffee...