Friday, August 26, 2011

I don't smoke having given up smoking in 1985. What I haven't given up is democracy and the right to make my own decisions and to accept the consequences of such decisions. Hence I believe pub and club owners should decide whether to ban smokers from their premises or to set aside a room for smokers. Citing the health and safety of staff is bullshit and a Trojan horse for banning anything and everything. Heavy lorries, diesel particulates, air fresheners, deodorants, the list goes on... Should they be banned? I have signed the petition and I have asked friends to do the same. The puritans have been making moves on alcohol for a while now, plus salt, fatty foods... I'm going backto look at a lava lamp and bring my blood pressure down which was increased by these righteous twats. Perhaps they should be banned?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lots of walking this morning including a trek up one of the main streets in Grimsby known locally as 'Freemo'. Best seen in sunshine which it was this morning despite the autumnal hint of falling brown leaves. Freemo has seen better days, to be frank it is deader than the last Dodo curry. Boarded up shops, a variety of people from 'Rough Extras' (we supply for gritty televisual dramas) and an excess of charity shops. The best thing would be to accept the inevitable, that most people shop at the mall or edge of town supermarkets and revamp the area as mainly residential. The market is generally good and that should be encouraged but the street could be revitalised. The local council with local companies to get the buildings fit for the 21 st century. Apprenticeships for unemployed youths, open up some space for a local park, encourage small local businesses (tax and rates breaks) and open up the market more. Alternatively, bulldoze the lot and invite Ikea in... that's a joke by the way although I'd love to see an Ikea between here, Scunthorpe and Lincoln. The market could have small arts & crafts stalls, alternatives to the usual stalls.

The local press is encouraging people to shop locally without attempting to analyse why people shop at Tesco or Asda. Convenience, cost, free parking, advertising, the experience of shopping itself. I joked about the rough extras but I was approached this morning by two blokes to whom malodorous and unkempt are the politest terms I could apply. One was friendly, asking for directions & we had a quick chat. The second was distinctly odd as he muttered into his beard. Mrs.C refuses to shop in Freemo because of the various local street 'characters' along there which is odd because she recognises most of our local street characters here in the town centre and she's ok with them. I guess the main difference is that the latter tend to be drinkers whilst the former fall into any number of categories, a theme for a future post perhaps. If the Freemo experience could be enhanced somehow so that people want to go there. I'm thinking of Covent Garden, Camden Town, etc... Perhaps I am expecting too much for the town but I do believe we could ask a lot more of politicians, both local and nationally. Perhaps the one thing we could ask of them is that they make it easier for small companies and entrepreneurs by reducing rates, taxes and red tape to allow things to grow from the ground up. The pooch liked Freemo... olfactory heaven for a dog especially as we got closer to the docks!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An update regarding my dieting. After two weeks away from work which necessitated fish & chips one night, KFC on another night and plenty of life sustaining nutritious beer I discovered at my local fat fighters club that I had gained 3 & 1/2 pounds. Discipline once again acquired and one week later I lost four pounds. In total that makes 47 & 1/2 pounds lost over the last nineteen weeks. Not bad considering I decided I was not going to give up beer and I have rediscovered my love of cooking fresh food. I am aiming to hit the target of fifty pounds over the next two weeks because it has a nice round sound to it. What I do enjoy is the new found energy I have and rooting for clothes in my wardrobe which once again fit me. It's also fascinating being the one man in a room full of women who sometimes forget I am present. But the group is very supportive and I heartily reccommend anyone to join up if they have weight problems. I find the external discipline of weekly attendance plus the support encourages my desire to do well. Interestingly, the KFC was not enjoyable (I felt distinctly unwell afterwards) and I don't think I'll bother with it again. If a local takeaway took on board some low fat recipes for favourite meals they would coin it in. As for the fish & chips... mmmm is all I can say.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What a difference one day makes. I met with my boss today and I was offered the opportunity to reapply for the AMHP training I was turned down for earlier this year. Apparently the funding for our jobs from the local authority is now sorted out (for another year) and my boss is keen for me to remain with the team and not return full time to crisis work. The sweetener is that I will be cleared for training next year. Although I remain apprehensive regarding the powers involved with such work I have had a lot of time since February to mull over everything that happened (a senior manager whom I have 'history' with vetoed my training application but waved through some recently qualified staff). It is a great opportunity, I enjoy studying and applying studies to practice, it adds to post grad. qualifications and it opens up doors to future possibilities given the current maelstrom that is the NHS. I haven't yet lost my ambition and I am a realist who knows opportunity when it comes calling. Mind you, it's a bloody hard course and a very tough placement over a period of six months. So the thoughts of an early retirement are thankfully put away and I spent an active day with a smile on my face. Even the 140 miles round trip failed to wipe the smile away. I still feel too young to be put out to pasture and my experience and knowledge thankfully still count. Just remind me of this when I am whingeing next year on this blog about deadlines, studying and placement!

I have also made contact with some old friends after an absence of umpteen years. The upshot is that I'll meet some of them in London later this year and I have made plans for trips to Holland and Switzerland next year to catch up with them. The latter is for a surprise 50th birthday party for one friend who happily lives over there. He and his wife have been globe trotting for years and are now based back in Europe so it'll be good to catch up with them. With my son grown up I have realised the freedoms it offers me. Mrs C. won't travel by plane, ferry or the channel tunnel unless drunk and heavily sedated so she has already refused to attend both trips. C'est la vie...
 For tonight it is coffee and Prokofiev's fourth symphony on BBCi as entertainment. I am giving the booze a break for a couple of weeks after the beer excitement last week as it can be too much of a good thing and it puts on weight! With it being busy at work I prefer to wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed in the mornings although the alarm call at 5.30 this morning was abit too bright eyed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I returned to work yesterday and I found a shed load of work awaiting me. After the last two weeks where I chilled out and did as little as possible, returning to the fray was somewhat of a shock to the old system. So much so I retired to bed at 10.15 pm after playing the nodding dog in front of the box. A large chunk of my ten hour day yesterday was taken up with driving the 150 odd miles to various assessments around different parts of the county. I couldn't move after being cramped up in the hot tin box for five hours. So today, in between catching up on paperwork I took a much needed long walk with the pooch. Sadly, as I lose weight and attempt to walk faster she has slowed down. She'll be eight years old this October and I have now moved her on to 'senior dog food'. No, not paella...  I needed to stretch my limbs, get some fresh air and aim for that life/ work balance the health kommisars keep banging on about. The pooch recovers quickly  from any exertions and is ever hopeful with one of her toys or balls dropped at my feet soon after we return.
Work itself continues as always and I haven't got a clue regarding my future. The first tranche of voluntary 'mutually agreed resignations' have occurred and I guess the next step to saving millions is a further cull of staff. It always appears to be the frontline staff who go so the next year could be very interesting. A few of us older 'time served' staff have discussed whether we would take redundancy if it was offered. I have to admit it is tempting because I could use some money to get the house repaired and I could tie it in with early retirement. The money wouldn't last long and I would have to continue working, preferably as a nurse and the way things are going in the NHS it would be in private care. But that is to jump ahead to next year and the future remains unknown. 2012 for all those conspiracy theorists... Aliens, asteroid, plagues, the end of western civilisation in an  imperial Roman fashion. Exciting times indeed...


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My psychic beer radar kicked in this evening and Mrs C. and I headed for Cleethorpes Tesco where I found a particular beer heaven...

Yes, bottles of Young's Double Chocolate Stout for sale. I filled the basket with several bottles as well as a couple of bottles of Williams Brothers' 'March of the Penguins Stout'. The Young's I had considered buying on-line because I could not find it anywhere. This site explains why it is a beer well worth searching for because it truly is an excellent beer. I first had it in cans at a friends BBQ and the beers went very quickly as it proved popular with most folks. I intend to enjoy a few tonight as I watch Ghost Hunters and get into the spirit of the programme. The Penguin beer I'll discuss tomorrow as I had heard of it via various beer blogs and I was pleased to see it for sale. Anyhow, Chocs away!
Here are a couple of interesting perspectives regarding the riots...

I do think analysis of the riots and how it possibly reflects aspects of British society is needed. However, excuses made by opportunistic apologists is the last thing we need. The consequences of criminal behaviour should be the full weight of law and punishment because nothing else will get through to the criminals.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Some good has emerged from the riots after all.

Interesting suggestions from some of the Libertarian bloggers about the police empowering locals to defend their communities and to apprehend the rioters and looters. That may be a better response than the mealy mouthed police leadership who will not allow coppers to do their job. At least the Turks and Kurds ensured their people and property was safe and they smacked a few of the robbing bastards into the bargain as well. Maybe that's the template for other communities to ensure their own protection? The belly rubbers, as Mrs C. calls them, would scream "human rights" if ordinary people dealt out summary justice to these thieves and what's to say that such groups might decide to go further than just protecting their localities. Who knows what that might lead to ... I'll head back to nursing this damn summer cold (manflu!).

Time to end the culture of entitlement and teach responsibility to these rioting scum. This is not political protest, it is criminal opportunism with the full knowledge that punishments will be light or non - existent. Mandatory full term sentences with only basic human rights adhered to: food, water, warmth and exercise with the prison situated in the Falkland Islands. Nothing else will answer this shit. The apologists are already explaining 'context' and blaming the government, neoliberalism, white society, etc... They are thieving little shits and will only offer respect when they realise force will be met with greater force. As for suggesting that this is an underclass version of thieving politicians, bankers and others of the metropolitan elite... that excuse won't wash. Both are wrong and both should be punished. Sadly, this will only get worse.


Sunday, August 07, 2011

 As requested here are some pics of the triffids...

I had some left over tomato seeds from last year so I planted them and expected just two or three plants to emerge. Twelve of them survived and are thriving whilst I decided to get rid of several more. I let them grow too big but fruit are now growing on all of them. Two chilli plants are doing well as are the two cucumber plants. The latter I am particularly pleased with because this was my first attempt to grow them. The blackcurrant bush was cut back last year and is also doing very well. Plenty of fruit both from our garden and next door. I am reading through my gardening books regarding what to grow over the winter, especially in the little greenhouse although I will stick to appropriate hardy vegetables. Cabbages and garlic look to be the favourites for now so I will check out what is for sale in the local market. I have two large soft plastic containers plus a large tub ready for whatever I choose as well as plenty of home produced and shop bought compost. A work colleague who keeps donkeys has offered plenty of manure but I'm not too sure about that. When I start digging out trenches preparatory for next spring I may take him up on his kind offer.
Otherwise my plan is for a good clearout this autumn and hopefully I can have a spot cleared for a small shed. Everyone with a garden needs a shed where a suitable old armchair, radio and kettle for tea may be accommodated for the hard working gardener. Also room for homebrewing if possible as well as storage... this shed may well be bigger than the small shed I have suggested to Mrs C. It is more likely to be of a similar size to the one below...


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Sainsbugs have 20% off sale of spirits on at the moment so I splashed out and bought a bottle of Dun Leire single malt Irish whiskey, distilled by Cooley's. I also bought a bottle of Grant's Ale Cask blended whisky which I have been meaning to try for some time now. I am not a snob about beer although my preference is for real ales or craft beers. The same goes for spirits, if it tastes good and I like it I will buy it. The Dun Leire is good, quite light on the palate with a rich following aftertaste. A nice after dinner whiskey but since the weather has suddenly become autumnal a nice dram in front of the  (unlit) fire with a good book. The Grants I bought today and I have a glass in front of me and I have been pleasantly surprised as it is very good. A lovely creme brulee yet fruity taste which was richer than I expected. This will go on my list to buy again especially since it is comparatively cheaper to buy and with 20% off it is a bargain. So another couple of glasses this evening as I curl up with a good book.

No.1 son lost his job a few weeks back and apart from a couple of days casual labour he hasn't found any work. He was rejected again for another electrical apprenticeship and we have discussed his returning to college. He would like to do a stage sound and lighting course based on his experiences at school and some work with a friend who does this for a living. I have suggested he may have to take whatever work is on offer and look at gaining experience / studying part time towards his goals. Needless to say the seed fell upon stony ground but he may eventually realise that my fifty plus years of life experience, etc... does qualify me to give advice. We will see... As for my time off... I have spent it dog walking, reading books and relaxing. The final weekend at work was very stressful and I realised I had been giving 120% with no thanks or recognition from those higher in the food chain. I am going to attempt to wind back on my imbued Protestant work ethic and get in touch with a more Catholic south Mediterrannean work ethic... manana will be the watchword (how do you add accents on here?). Hence I have done very little this first week off although my plans for sanding down and repainting the woodwork at the front of the house has been kiboshed by the nest full of housemartins. They have two babies in the nest and it's a full time job keeping various neighbourhood cats away from it. That'll have to wait until the Indian summer in September.
 Anyhow, back to the whisky and my book plus Planet Rock providing the sounds for this evening.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Mrs C. and I took a lengthy stroll this morning, primarily to buy the cheap German brandy from Lidl (I can recommend it and at less than a tenner) but also to enjoy the walk alongside the river bank. Admiring the various wildfowl and fish I was astonished to see a large rat swimming to the island with a chunk of bread in its maw. I watched, fascinated by its swimming prowess and to see if it would make it to the island. Mrs C. pointed out another large rat nearby as we watched a further drama unfold across the river. A young boy had caught a cygnet in his fishing line and the boy's father was attempting to rectify the situation. The cygnet's parents were having none of this and noisily protected the cygnet from the perceived intruders. I am afraid it will all end in tears.

Looking for suitable photos I came across this link for the 'River Freshney'.

Not the quiet morning stroll of birdsong and fresh air I expected as I clicked on it but I did give 'em a listen.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Intermittent service has been resumed after a much needed break from blogging.
I had little of interest to say and I was, quite frankly, sick and tired of what appeared to me to be lots of whining on the internet interspersed with a lot of gratuitous hostility. Much of the latter undoubtedly necessary because people feel powerless or overwhelmed by the bullshit and lies in political circles and a safety valve is needed. However, dealing on a daily basis at work with 'high expressed emotions' and political bullshit I felt the need for a break and scented flowers and cuddly kittens.
So what has been happening? Not a lot to tell the truth although I continue to shrink and I am 3 stones and 5 pounds lighter.  Work is increasingly frantic and the past several weeks has been incredibly hectic. The string, chewing gum and goodwill holding things together is of a cheaper make compared with last year and the goodwill has finally gone. Remarkably the slick PR gets ever more garish as behind the lights and make up the system slowly grinds to a halt. No. 1 son lost his job but he was recently interviewed for another electrical apprenticeship and we are awaiting the results of that. If successful he will have a further interview and only then will he be offered the job or the door. Fingers, as ever, are crossed as we wish him luck. As for the past few weeks of the meeja fest... meh. The Marianas Trench has room enough for politicians, media personalities and other assorted parasites with room for unnecessary slebs and hangers on. It's probably better for my sanity to concentrate on positive things such as the excellent cucumbers I have successfully grown. There is also a fine crop of cherry tomatoes and chillies from the garden as well as the goodly neighbours providing blackcurrents and apples. In fact, this years crop is the best I have seen for a long while. There are lots of berries on various trees so does this presage another cold winter? We'll see soon enough but there is still plenty of summer left to enjoy and I now have two weeks off for rest and recuperation.