Thursday, December 31, 2009

To my occasional readers, all the best for a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful 2010!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hat tip to Seany for the above. It is well worth your while watching it through to the end if you want to learn an inconvenient truth.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

That's it then, Christmas over for another year and life nears reality again. Except for the sales! I popped into Tesco yesterday to buy cat food which I had forgotten to buy although they are stuffed with turkey. It was packed to the gunnels with mad people after "that bargain". I had a quick look but with the thought uppermost in my mind. 'Do I need it?...NO!' After a quick shufti I decided to leave them to their collective madness and returned home after negotiating the scrum that was the carpark. After all the excitement of work & Christmas dinner I have now succumbed to the leurgy. Paracetamol and tea so i can at least survive my days off if not ebjoy them.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

'It's nearly Christmas!'

Two lovely days off and then back to work Christmas Day, so I intend to enjoy them. Acoustic night yesterday and a lot of Rosie Nosie supped but an early finish for me because of two long and busy days at work. Driving long distances in this weather wasn't fun but British grit, internal and external helped. We are also out again tonight for a final Christmas get together and an eighties disco. More beer I'm afraid but I'll do my bit for Queen & country...stout yeoman that I am. Some final shopping tomorrow, the important items (wine, beer, cat & dog food) still to be bought. But all presents bought and under the tree ready for the big day. No.1 excited and counting down the days despite the veneer of teenage sneers.
I'll wish my occasional reader a Merry Christmas and hopefully Santa will bring you what you have wished for.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

All I can say is watch all of it....

Winter has arrived and work yesterday evening was fun & games...winter olympics. On three occasions we skidded towards dykes out by the coast with visibility reduced to a couple of yards. We had to rescue someone whose car had left the road and help them home. Then a couple of us had a snowball fight amongst the parked cars. Well, it kept us warm and our spirits up! Thankfully after a busy eight days I now have two days off and the pooch enjoyed an early morning excursion to the park and ate the snowballs thrown at her. She loves the snow and as I write she is curled up next to a radiator. Apparently it will drop as low as -8 tonight. I intend to remain wrapped up indoors with spotify and beer to fortify me through the cold spell. Sadly, I have some shopping to attend to this afternoon including posting the last present off to my mother. Thank the gods for M&S vouchers. I must away and face the crowds.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hat tip to Leg Iron for this site.
As someone who likes haggis, white pudding, mince & tatties, is heaven for me and cholesterol hell for dietitians. I'm not a Scot but the Scots influence upon Northern Ireland meant a life long exposure to these foods. I especially like the passage about Scots farmers putting aside porridge so as to cut it up and eat it cold later. My nan introduced us as children to this practice as she made very thick porridge the night before and it was then prepared ready made for breakfast, cold or hot as one preferred. Cold, damp and wintery Ulster mornings in a cottage with only the range for heat meant no time to mess around getting warmed up and fed.

Friday, December 11, 2009

X-ray specs not required.

I must be getting old because Mrs.C pointed 'the woman' out to me. The woman in question was shopping whilst wearing an extremely short dress which was see through. As she strolled around the supermercado pushing the trolley and her toddler, oblivious to the other shoppers who stared in delight or annoyance I completely missed her until my wife drew my attention to her. Yes, I did enjoy the view but more importantly I was engrossed in the act of shopping and I also thought she's not wearing warm enough clothing. Mrs C. found it very amusing and said "It's your age dear". At this rate I will be wearing a flat cap with a terrier in the passenger seat whilst driving below the speed limit. I should really follow medical advice...


Thursday, December 10, 2009

After the shenanigans of Monday things have been quieter on the homefront. No.1 is helping out with the scout post so he needs lifts to get there each evening and he's hoping this work will count towards his big camping trip next summer. Mrs C. had some extra hours at work so even the financial situation is slightly better. I popped out last night to support the local pool team and sample a brew I hadn't tried excellent pint. Also a chance to chew the fat and have a few laughs.

Tomorrow my colleague and I have an opportunity to discuss our futures as best interests assessors. It could be good news but there have been some heated discussions with the commissioners regarding contracts which, although everyone acknowledges the fault lies with senior managers, could see the blame falling upon us as the easiest targets so who knows what will happen. I have to admit those jobs advertised for nurses in British Columbia do look damned enticing. Especially since yesterdays PBR has addressed nothing and the public sector desperately needs pruning. Our NHS trust is already looking at 'efficiencies' but I believe frontline staff will be screwed again rather than the unnecessary paper pushers, 'managers' and bean counters. I guess if my pension is threatened the choice regarding a move abroad in a couple of years time will be easier to make. Freezing pay, allowing natural wastage, making cuts to the unnecessary bureaucracy would be a start. It's too early to make any decisions because my son needs to get through college with our support. Interesting times indeed...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Wake me up when it's gone away.

So much for the Christmas spirit...son had a shower (he showers the whole bathroom) and water came through the ceiling. Cue one loud and expressive argument. Later on the microwave emitted blue sparks and caught fire (both incidents unrelated). I am now scanning the skies for a meteorite as I tot up how much this will cost me. Does a meteorite count as an act of God and invalidate my insurance policy? Does the insurance company have proof God exists? After all, I can state I believe in Zeus or Thor and it was those other peoples god which caused my house to disappear in an explosion of metallic rock, fire, steam and kryptonite. Perhaps I should email Richard Dawkins for an answer although I am sure he'd just say it was a natural phenomenon and deuced bad luck. All I can say is 'Bugger!'and look up Argos/Asda/Tesco for a new microwave.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Today was a lazy day: cooked the Sunday dinner; walked the pooch twice; considered some other chores....watched rubbish on the telly. I didn't go out last night for a beer after deciding further rest for my back and to save some money. I had a quiet beer in with spotify to provide the music. This evening I walked over to meet Mrs C. from her job because she doesn't like walking home in the dark alone. Good job too because the mob of kids screaming and vandalising their way through town did not bode well. I have also noticed the increase in foxes in town having seen several over the past week in different areas. Winter coming on fast and they're after food. I wonder which are their favourite takeaways? Probably doner kebabs with a high fat content although the chilli sauce mightn't be to their taste. There are usually plenty of takeaway detritus after Friday & Saturday nights out. The pooch was excited because she can smell 'em but we won't let her loose to investigate. Anyhow, perhaps I might pop over for a jar now as part of my community spirit in supporting my local pub.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A good nights sleep, painkillers and some beer has eased my back a little although a new firm mattress is on my shopping list. I might try sleeping on the floor tonight using No.1's sleeping camp mat. The only downside to that is waking up to find the dog and various cats on top of me if they don't start fighting first. As for the shopping, I can't imagine anyone will want the potatoes, sprouts and carrots I bought yesterday or the biography of Marlborough. Yet another successful Christmas shopping trip! I found a present for myself of which I have informed Mrs C.....a penguin escalator & slide game. I bought one for my son when he was a toddler but it didn't survive his childhood. I have always wanted one but until yesterday I couldn't find them for sale. Always a child at heart as are most men....who run the world which explains the complete mess it is in.

I have however tracked down Mrs C's presents (with her suggestions) and I shall pop in next week to buy them. Otherwise today is for further rest and some gentle exercise (dog walking) and tonight we'll pop into our local pub to help someone celebrate his birthday with a crowd of other like minded wellwishers.

Friday, December 04, 2009

I had planned on these few days off to prepare for Christmas but fate had other ideas. I have pulled a muscle in my back and even small things like pulling a t-shirt on is painful. Apart from the painkillers and rest there is another solution...alcohol. I still have to go out and buy some presents...a festive M&S voucher isn't too heavy but negotiating the crowds will be fun.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I found the Santa Claus decoration for the front window...

It's excited interest from passersby so I do believe it's a hit. For the third day of advent I thought I would post a picture of a Christmas fairy...

I know, I know...she hasn't got the obligatory wings but I am more than happy for her to occupy the top of my tree. Free mince pies and a decent sherry would be thrown in as long as she leaves enough for Santa on the big night. It sounds like a winner to me...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Second day of advent...

We looked for decent advent calenders and not a decent one to be found...we're missing Woolies which usually had a wide selection. Mind you, having heard about advent calenders and chocolates for hamsters! The mind boggles...
I'm also feeling a strange attraction to the various bright Christmas lights for sale in the stores but I am resisting the lure of horrors such as the one below...

Something tasteful and appropriately seasonal for the front window...a flashing Santa perhaps?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

First day of December and a proper winters day....especially cold at 6 a.m. It's also the advent countdown to Christmas day and we haven't got an advent calender in. I'll be popping out later to amend that absence. Apart from the cold itself it's the cats flinging themselves at the windows each evening in their desire to get into the warm which reminds us winter is upon us. It's also hard to put the furry buggers out in the mornings as they hide away. Mrs C. will dig out the Christmas tree and decorations this weekend and despite my son adopting his 'not bothered' attitude he is looking forward to Christmas. He broke his mobile over the weekend so that's one present bought and given early. It is cheaper than allowing him near the landline.
We're sticking to the buy only what's necessary for Christmas approach rather than buy in enough supplies for the siege of Leningrad. The supermarkets have the panic buyers in already with trolleys groaning under the weight of food, presents, etc...I am again working an early shift on Christmas day but I quite enjoy it. I am also on with one of the more delightful members of the team so we can have radio 4 on, coffee and mince pies with those patients who need us and a civilised approach to the day. As for sending, close friends and a donation to charity with a pint for some friends in the local pub. Mrs C. has hinted at various presents so I'll be out shopping later this week as well as a few small stocking fillers for No.1 and the family. It is true tho'...the older one gets the quicker Christmas comes around again.