Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I would increase security at the palace when this delightful lady collects her honour...

There tends to be a trail of bodies wherever she goes. 

My general view of the honours system is predictable for one who believes we are in dire need of a republic but Angela Lansbury deserves this whilst it is currently extant. 

She has performed in a variety of roles in a career stretching back seventy years and not just solving murders and helping inept police officers!

Otherwise, the usual awards have been made to a motley crew of politicians and the rest. Scrap the honours system and award citizens who do genuine good, not just robbing bankers, lying politicians and those who get paid for their work / hobby but expect more. 


p.s. If you are of a nervous disposition, do not look at the comments for this article.


Monday, December 30, 2013

 A new week and soon to be a new year. I am cheering because I rejoin slimming world this evening and I plan on making a fresh start for 2014. The Christmas week of feasting and drinking has left me tired and lethargic although the stinking cold has made a big contribution to it as well.

I am also mindful that I have had no response to my job applications and I will spend the next few weeks looking for that elusive job that ticks all the boxes for me: local, part time, does not involve crazy hours. I may have to amend some of that but I'll see what opportunities are out there. I also belatedly realised that the past six months I have sat on my arse and anaesthetised myself with alcohol and food as a response to my low mood and anxiety. However, I have enjoyed the time off, the relaxation and the escape from pressures of work so I have no rights to complain as I am in a better position than most. 
No.1 son had a spill on his bike yesterday on some black ice. Luckily he was riding slowly and he didn't sustain any injuries and the bike is ok too. Just some scrapes to the handle bar and pegs. Mrs C. not entirely happy but he had taken a short cut down a back road where the sun doesn't shine. Ironically, he was riding slowly because of the potholes and dreadful state of the road! 
For today... I am ignoring the various media analyses of the past year and the rolling news regarding the latest disaster. BBC iPlayer has "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman on the radio which I am listening to plus various other short plays, etc... I can also play some of the CD's I received for Christmas (last ever mention, I promise) and enjoy my kindle. The weather outside is blowing a hoolie with added 100% moisture for good measure hence the need to stay indoors and wrap up warm.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

People have asked me over the past decade why I no longer support the Labour party and sometimes a news story breaks that provides one of numerous answers.

Fair enough, there are not enough train drivers but to blame a popular children's programme and show a woeful knowledge of the real world has earned this incompetent a gold star. I looked up her history on-line and Hey Presto! Another M.P. who has never held down a real job in the real world. There are far too many of these two dimensional clueless nincompoops in parliament and they are in all parties. A political class so far removed from the everyday reality of the people they pretend to represent that we would do better voting in Springer Spaniels to do the job. The latter are at least cheap, always friendly and could not do as much damage as the current crop of incompetents, thieves and liars. After all, why bother to tackle the real issues of unemployment, lack of industries, immigration, housing, wars ( Thanks to Labour's desire to bomb foreigners ) health and welfare when children's programmes are totally to blame for all of society's ills.

The Wombles are making a comeback but I must now assume Uncle Bulgaria will be absent whilst new inner city wombles with appropriate accents, skin colour, sexuality and clothing will be added so as to avoid upsetting anybody. But a gay womble or a womble in a burka will upset someone amongst the watching public. Let's get it all in perspective... these are children's programmes. Trains do not talk, what an earth is a womble, Sooty and Sweep are puppets as are most boy bands. These idiots will not be happy until the media reflects inner city London and the metropolitan elites version of a 'perfect life'. Perhaps it is time to find a quiet spot somewhere I can avoid these fucking idiots...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

That's Christmas done and nearly dusted. I drank a variety of port, whisky and beer yesterday  but by 10 pm I was on tea whilst reading my kindle. Rubbish on the TV apart from an interesting programme about M.R. James and it was lovely to sit by the fire, tree lights twinkling and surrounded by various cats who were replete with turkey and ham. This morning I had a lengthy and much needed walk with the pooch to blow the cobwebs away and I couldn't bear to waste what has been a sunny winters day. The walk was much needed given the amount I ate and drank yesterday plus there is a delicious Stollen cake requiring my attention . A slice of that with more tea should set me up. I hope you all got what you asked Santa for and had an enjoyable Christmas day.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

                                         Merry Christmas!

The bells are pealing as I type and I have a small water fountain running soothingly in the background so I am chilled and enjoying this Christmas morning. The dog woke me up at 3.30 with a fusillade of barks which I had to go and investigate. She raced frantically around the garden and focused most of her attention upon the alley to the rear of the garden. She's earned her Kennomeat today because there may very well have been someone lurking there with ill intent. However, I did not wake up until 8 a.m. and that was following a 2 a.m bedtime hence I am knackered. The water fountain is one of my presents which I had spotted whilst out shopping and Mrs C made a note of my interest whilst I oohed and ahhed over it.

All the best for Christmas and I hope you all have an enjoyabel and wonderful day.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Twenty fourth day of Advent and the eve of Christ's mass... Happy Modraniht and Happy Yuletide!

A brief foray to Sainsbugs for more mince pies and milk as well as buying some of the delicious Somerset Goats cheese as recommended by Blue Witch ( Thank you BW ). An excellent breakfast of rolls, cheese and olives after I had walked the pooch. Thankfully, the wind had died down and it wasn't raining although at midnight when I had let the pooch out for a call of nature it was very wild. All sorts of clattering and banging with the rain bucketing down. Speaking of buckets I was again accosted by charity collectors at the supermarket, this time for the sea cadets. I'm surprised the righteous puritans did not descend upon me as the small girl in the cadet uniform loaded two bottles of cider into my bag! According to their beliefs she will be an alcoholic by April after that brief exposure to the evil drink. That's it now, hatches to be battened down, everything we require has been bought and we can put our feet up. No. 1 son has volunteered to work on Boxing day ( double bubble! ) so his only day off will be Christmas day itself. I shall send out Christmas email greetings to various friends but otherwise I intend to listen to the radio and relax. I hope you are all prepared and I wish you all a Merry and peaceful Christmas!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Twenty third day of Advent....

Having watched two versions of The Christmas Carol over the weekend I thought the above would be appropriate. I tend to send Christmas cards to my nearest and dearest only and some older neighbours who do not access the internet, preferring instead to donate to charity. The Sally Army, N E Lincs Animal Rescue and other local charities are the recipients as I refuse to donate to larger organised businesses "charities" which pay large salaries to CEO's, receive a large percentage of their funds from our taxes and lecture to the public. On top of that I was waylaid at the supermercado by the Rotarians, the Scouts and CAD over the last two days so no more donations from me over this Christmas. It is currently blowing a gale out there so with the shopping done first thing this morning I have my feet up and tea brewed. Fingers crossed I haven't forgotten anything...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Day twenty two of Advent...

Apparently, M & S now allow their Muslim staff to refuse to serve alcohol or pork products to customers. The products are packaged, they are not consuming them and if they object to selling perfectly legitimate retail products I am sure they can find work elsewhere. Absolutely ridiculous pandering to stupidity. Keep religion out of the secular sphere because at this rate there will be separate checkouts in supermarkets with separate areas in town governed according to various religious rules and restrictions. A religious apartheid and this is the way to go to alienate people and create further discord. Rank stupidity of the first order...

*Takes a deep breath... and another... remembers it is the season of goodwill... *


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Twenty first day of Advent...

I would like to make a recommendation for any British readers of this blog. Sprint down to Sainsbury's and buy a "Goats Cheese Log" ( Bûche du Poitou ). I bought some for the Christmas cheese board but I had some this morning and it was delicious. It is sold like the picture below...

... but I guess elsewhere it will look like this...

I generally don't buy cheeses because of slimming world and I had forgotten the variety of French cheeses out there. I also bought some Stilton, aged Lancashire cheese and some specialist Wensleydale. My son and Mrs C. aren't so adventurous when it comes to cheeses preferring straightforward English cheeses although I guess I will be eating the Stilton myself. Come January I will be rejoining SW and these cheeses will be distant culinary memories. C'est la vie ( C'est la fromages! ).

Friday, December 20, 2013

Twentieth day of Advent...

This contrasts very well with yesterdays offering.

An early start today as I realised the cats had run out of food* and I had to hie to the local supermercado. It was full of people who are already panic buying for Christmas. I swiftly picked up the necessaries, paid and left the mayhem behind me. Two full trolleys is just utter madness! We will be doing our Christmas shop next Monday although as per previous years we buy only enough for the meal itself and boxing day. The beasties will enjoy any scraps and we will have a quiet family day.

The local press over the past week has run stories of various traffic accidents (a lot!), house fires (several), the police campaign against shoplifters and drink / drive stories. I'm waiting for my bingo card to call house when the same news story features a drunk shoplifter who crashes a stolen car into a house and sets it on fire. That'll be a cross in every box although if he knocks down a wind turbine during the inevitable police chase whilst being caught speeding on speed cameras that will tick the box for the other long running local news stories.

* The two elderly ladies can no longer eat dry food apart from Louis who has his special urinary help food. It is cheaper buying that for him compared with the vet bills if he becomes unwell.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nineteenth day of Advent...

Just to add some much needed contemplative music I have added this...

If I ever returned to the fold of the church it would be to a life of contemplation, prayer and working on the land, hence a monastery. However, since that is unlikely I can enjoy the music and watch episodes of Cadfael!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Eighteenth day of Advent...

A timely reminder with all that's happening around the world.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Day seventeen of Advent...

The weather forecast for Christmas suggests cold winds and rain so normal service resumed.
I popped into Aldi yesterday to buy some stollen, Christmas puds and biscuits for the festivities. I spent some time dithering over a 24 year old malt whisky they had on sale for £35 and the Jefferson's small batch Bourbon at £30. I decided to give them a miss this time although I may well change my mind and pay a further flying visit. We are organised for the festivities with a meat pack paid for and ready for collection next week. A brief visit to the local market for vegetables and our Sainsbugs points will be used to buy the rest of the necessaries. January will be an alcohol free month for me as well as my return to the slimming club. I am a devil for bread and cheese hence it will be a much needed return to slimming world.
I am away to minister to Mrs C's needs...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sixteenth day of Advent and as is traditional when one day is missed we have two doors to open...

Somehow I don't think it was a question of JC phone home.

I'm hoping the latter photograph does not become a reality over Christmas. As much as I like snow and I will not be affected by it this year, I wouldn't like it to impact upon other travellers.

Mrs C is making a slow recovery and she is covered in bruises: to her head, both feet, her left arm and she has a blackened left eye. No broken bones but strong pain killers and sleep has helped in her recovery. She must have dived when she tripped down the steps and she's lucky she didn't receive more serious injuries. It didn't help when the dog tripped her up again yesterday!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Fourteenth day of Advent...

Brief entry today because Mrs C. tripped and fell over this morning. I'm ministering to her needs and we may yet have to visit A & E because the severe bruises to her foot may well be hiding a break of some sort. I was more concerned about the large bruise to her head and she has also lost a tooth. All in all a nasty fall.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Day 13 of Advent and it is also "Friday the Thirteenth!"

Even after all this time that one clip still makes me laugh.

The gas boiler had its annual service today and all went smoothly. Having had a major part replaced during the summer I did not expect any surprises although the engineer stated the boiler is now fourteen years old. "You'll be pestered to replace it after next year... the average life's about fifteen years". After further discussion regarding availability of parts, etc... I suggested that I'll consider my options next year. A quick trawl of the internet about the lifespan of gas boilers made for interesting reading. All new boilers have to be of the condensing type, the type that froze up and stopped working during the harsh winter we had three years ago. I found one website where the chap explains the various pros and cons as well the reasons for the expense entailed in buying a new boiler if one is required. Again, I will give this some thought next year as currently I do have the money to replace the boiler but if this one lasts a few more years, I would rather save the money.
Via Mary Beard on twitter I completed this Latin quiz and I scored 75%. Not bad going for someone who has never formally studied Latin. I enjoy reading, history and I am forever curious about language, how it develops and the origins of words and phrases. I had considered studying Latin via the Open University but the costs have gone up. Harold Wilson's government enabled the creation of the OU so that ordinary people could access affordable education beyond school. Sadly, the likes of Blair and his heirs in this present government has destroyed yet another precious jewel. I am not going off on a rant so I'll leave that there... Bastards! I must away to perform my next exciting task in the thrills and spills life I lead. I'm off to buy a shopping trolley. Easier to carry shopping in as Mrs C and I get older whilst leaving the car at home. It sounds green and sensible to me.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Twelfth day of Advent...

Perhaps, just for the Christmas season, all local travel should be made by camel. That would slow down the Xmas rush and traffic madness....


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The eleventh day of Advent...

Another early start with my waking up at 4 a.m. and despite my best efforts I could not sleep. Up and at 'em, dog walked and we met Mrs C. and walked her back from her place of work. She has reported concerns about local homeless people who have been hassling those going to work. The majority are fine and are no problem at all apart from "a couple of  weird looking ones who try to intimidate the women for money and cigarettes". The police have stepped up their patrols after various complaints from members of the public. Tuesday night is student night in Grimsby and Mrs C regales me with tales of the various drunken antics she observes early on Wednesday mornings. These usually involve vomiting and falling over plus signs and traffic cones in inappropriate places. Twas ever thus...

There is good news regarding No. 1 son: he applied for another job with his current firm and he successfully passed the interview. No increase in pay but he will be working in the cold store stocktaking and auditing with the new computer system the company has bought in. He will commence training on the new system next January. We discussed it and he agreed with the analogy that he has completed his time in the trenches and is moving up to bigger and better things. He is also happy with the opportunity to stop smelling of fish when he finishes a shift at work! 

Today I have also finally transferred music and pictures from my old PC to the external hard drive. It had been sitting in a drawer for the past six months and I read the instructions this time round. It worked and music playing as I type ( Jethro Tull ) this entry. This was despite the demands of the cat Louis who sat on the key board and demanded I attend to his immediate need for fussing. LE rescued him when he was an very young abandoned kitten. He was covered in fleas, mites and as she soon discovered he had various health problems. He has a particular dry food because of his urinary tract and kidney problems. Since he moved in with us he has thrived. He was 'Fat Louis' (Louie) when he arrived and he remains so despite my attempts to put him on a diet and the other buggers nicking his food.

As you can see from the above photo he has made himself very much at home.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tenth day of Advent....

Far from feeling wintry or even Christmassy the sun has been shining and the weather mild. I spent time out visiting a friend who is off sick from work and she has been in various wars of late. It was good to drink tea, catch up on gossip and news as well as put the world to rights. Driving out and about the 'Stupid' was strong, with a couple strolling out slowly in front of me as I drove towards them at 30 mph. A screech of brakes and much Anglo-Saxon vernacular expressed although they could not see any concern for my reaction. Ten minutes later a driver made an immediate U-turn and he appeared perplexed when I and other drivers shouted at him. It must be the excitement of the season... A quiet afternoon spent cooking and then reading restored the balance. Time for another cuppa...


Monday, December 09, 2013

Day nine of Advent and another wintry scene...

Trawling through the internet and various news items and this caught my eye. My immediate thought was "Good grief" followed by thoughts of boycotting any supermarket applying such draconian measures. Mrs C. believes the 'belly rubbers' as she calls the social police are becoming more intrusive and interfering with people trying to get on with their daily lives. As muggings, robbery, rape, murder and physical assaults continue the government and various agencies concentrate their focus upon smoking, alcohol,  tasteless bigoted non - PC comments and generally attacking the law abiding population. We have rapidly moved to political police who attempt to police the thoughts of the populace. Any non - PC thoughts expressed via social or other media engages the easily outraged who demand the perpetrator is arrested and the police happily oblige. Hence Christians are vilified for expressing their beliefs, children can have their cards marked as racist by a head teacher because their parents refused to allow them to attend a Muslim awareness day; etc... Sadly, I do believe it will only get worse as common sense and live and let live sensibilities are eroded for the state sponsored diktats as to what is acceptable language and behaviour.

“Human rights' are a fine thing, but how can we make ourselves sure that our rights do not expand at the expense of the rights of others. A society with unlimited rights is incapable of standing to adversity. If we do not wish to be ruled by a coercive authority, then each of us must rein himself in...A stable society is achieved not by balancing opposing forces but by conscious self-limitation: by the principle that we are always duty-bound to defer to the sense of moral justice.” 
― Aleksandr SolzhenitsynRebuilding Russia: Reflections and Tentative Proposals

I believe we should be aware of the impact of our behaviour and speech upon others. The death of Nelson Mandela has brought the usual racists, idiots of all political persuasions and political opportunists to the fore. I follow some people on twitter to whom Mandela represents all that they hate. Hence they harp on about his terrorist activities and heap opprobrium upon his name. Others whom I follow have elevated him to a secular sainthood and are waiting in expectation of his rising upon the third day. I can listen to both sides, make my own mind up about Mandela and I can choose to ignore or refute the racist comments and the sanctified wibblings. Mandela was a great leader and he chose a path to fight against the evil apartheid system. To fight evil by doing evil things is, I hope, a path I never have to walk. Many had to do it during apartheid, many had to do it during the war against nazi Germany. To counter the hateful statements of others on social media, humour, laughter, truth and exposing their ridiculous lies should be enough. I worry that in arresting these people, by clamping down on free speech, we are in effect becoming that which we state we are fighting against. I find groups such as the EDL and UAF equally obnoxious, both dehumanising those whom they hate and using violence to achieve their ends. Whether that be physical violence or verbal threats and abuse. This applies to extremist religious groups which are sadly proliferating, particularly the Islamist groups who are only too keen to use the tolerance of others in order to further their own twisted intolerance. We do indeed live in interesting times...


Sunday, December 08, 2013

Eighth day of Advent...

During these dark evenings it is nice to light candles and with the fire on to enjoy the flickering shadows. Sadly it is only a gas fire and not a real one.


Saturday, December 07, 2013

Day seven of the Advent calender...

I also read this regarding the recent weather and floods scare. It appears we may have had a very close shave but for the actions of port staff.
I have spent the day shopping for and wrapping presents as well as attempting to tune the mandolin. I have only the one present to buy for my mother but I will tackle M & S next Monday when the store has fewer customers, preferably minus the panzer buggies and ankle biters. It is once again shopping madness out there with people frantically pushing and shoving to get that particular present. Time for a much needed cup of tea and to put my feet up.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Sixth day of Advent...

Delightful.... hmmm...

Yesterday was a day of excitement and anxiety in varying amounts, largely as a consequence of the weather. Severe weather warnings went out with the flood alerts which sounded like air raid sirens going out across the town. Winds of 70 + miles per hour, flood walls breached and various areas both north and south of the Humber flooded by surge tides. Whilst this was happening No 1 son asked me to pick up his girlfriend who was stranded at Doncaster train station. The railways had been closed in north Lincolnshire and she was stranded. A swift return trip of 100 miles, we picked her up and raced home just in case the house was flooded. I did not believe we would be flooded but the ongoing  radio reports of Newcastle, Whitby and Hull suffering floods did cause me some anxiety.  Happily, everything intact and dry in central Grimsby although floods happened in other parts of town and Cleethorpes. Same again this morning with high tide although thankfully the winds had lessened.
Oddly enough I woke up at 4 a.m. and was out walking the pooch by 5a.m. It was quiet, cold but no sense of impending doom as broadcast by the media apart from the sandbags around various buildings. Emergency vehicles and local council crews noticeable by the docks but otherwise it was an ordinary winter morning. The dog was excited because she had several walks over the last 24 hours as I made my rounds and assessed the situation. Hopefully that will be enough excitement for now. I hope it was quiet where you are...

Fifth day of advent....

I think I snuck this one in...


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

For the fourth day of Advent...

So it seems Charlie is my darling according to the sainted Nigella. I often wondered about the frosting upon her cakes but I really do not give a Bakers dozen for this story. It's all over the media but their attention span and that of the public will quickly move to the next salacious titbit of news. It is her choice to use coke although her soon to be ex-husband grabbing her by the throat is beyond the pale. Wars, murder, financial mayhem, homelessness, cute puppies... The vulture news media cannot wait for the next disaster so as to fill the 24 / 7 rolling news pornography. The Glasgow helicopter crash was the latest example of this and the coverage was never ending. Mrs C. watches the news avidly hence I often wander into the room and find it constantly on.

Takes a deep breath and a sip of beer.*

Back to Nigella... I have watched her programme for approximately ten minutes and my response... very attractive  but "Meh!" I can live without watching yet another cookery programme. I did recently enjoy the 'Hairy Bikers' when they toured Germany but that was as much for the travel, the scenery and the food. Otherwise I have had a surfeit of food programmes and prefer to occupy myself with more meaningful tasks.

 *The beer this evening is a lager courtesy of 'Huber' from Monroe, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Third day of advent....

                               ( Picture courtesy of davidstephenson dot com )

I've been in Jerusalem in the snow and seen camels coping with it admirably, wise men not withstanding.

I have trawled for presents via the net for No.1 son after he had eventually agreed what he really really wanted including a much needed cover for his bike. Presents ordered and hopefully in transit although the main present won't be wrapped and placed under the tree. The smaller ones he doesn't know about will be wrapped, placed under the tree and provide amusement for the cats. I also finally bought something I have wanted for a long time... a mandolin. Having listened to early English and European music and my liking for Blue Grass I love the sound of the mandolin. The instrument I have ordered is cheap and cheerful and will provide me hours of entertainment and frustration as well as torture for anyone listening. The next video is something to aspire to....

I would quite happily just strum along to favourite tunes...

Just wonderful....


Monday, December 02, 2013

Day two of the Advent calender and it's a snowy scene with "Rudolph" reporting for sleigh duty...

The media has put out excitable end of the world warnings about cold weather and snow arriving later this week. That's somewhat of a surprise in December...

Writing of end of the world warnings I watched World's End and I quite enjoyed it. The film's theme certainly reminded me of pub crawls from my youth ... minus the aliens of course. Sadly, most of those pubs are now closed and the price of beer, etc... has consigned pub crawls to memory only. Anyhow, here is some music to sign off with ...


Sunday, December 01, 2013

Wow! One blog entry for the last month and this site had been left to gather dust. Nevermind, I've returned to tidy it up. Here's the first one for the advent calender...

                                                                                                              ... a winter nymph, perhaps?

I spent some time with two of my oldest friends from school which meant a few beers and  the inevitable curry. A travelled over from Switzerland and I have known him since we were both in the cub scouts nearly forty five years ago. G travelled up from the south having spent the last thirty years in Canada, cycling around the world including a dozen years living and working in mainland China. Interesting stories and an eye opener as to the Chinese and what we may expect in the years to come. If you have any children ensure they learn Mandarin. What was noticeable was our ability to just step into conversations and it felt like we were once again eighteen years of age in London of the late seventies. All in all we had an excellent weekend and I am exhausted despite only drinking three beers and being requested to leave the restaurant because they wanted to go home. A lot of talking, laughter and we have made plans for travel next year for Switzerland and further afield. So tonight's plan involves me putting my feet up, crack open a beer and listening to music.

n.b. Beers are courtesy of Great Newsome Brewery as I believe in supporting local businesses.