Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Eyes have It........Actually, I hope They Don't.

So today was D-day for me - or should I say E-day because today was the day I had my eyes scanned and photographed. I won't bore you with the whole history of how I got there, instead let me just say they are checking for possible early signs of Glaucoma.

I found it a little ironic, as I sat in the waiting area, that there were so many magazines left for people to read. In fact that might even be considered a little cruel. After all, it is a clinic for the treatment of disorders affecting the eye. That's like leaving roller skates and juggling balls in an Amputee ward. It would have been much better if they had made personal CD players with Audio books available.

My appointment was at 9:45, and thankfully there was only one other person in the waiting area. Sadly, all this man wanted to do was complain about the staff and how "if the NHS was run like a private business, they would all be sacked" - this was after he observed a doctor finishing with a patient, and then take a minute to clear away that patients paperwork before calling the next patient. Typically, when this man was called (by the same doctor) he was a nice as pie.

Soon enough it was my turn. There was a nurse who was going to do the scans and the photographs. Apparently she was learning how to do them - presumably with a view to advancement/promotion. The other reason of course, could just have been that the doctor couldn't be bothered. He did look that type to be honest.
The scans went fine - except for the moment just before they took the scan, when the nurse said to me "now keep your eye still". That was it - the moment I heard those words my eyes started moving. I was trying really hard to keep them still, but they kept moving the little buggers! You know what it is like - the moment someone tells you not to do something like that, or not to think about something, you start to do it. I managed to get my eyes under control, and got them scanned and photographed.

I was given eye drops to dilate my pupils before the photograph was taken, so that the camera could see as much of the backs of my eyes as possible. They told me that the eye drops would make my eyes water and sting a little - the sensation was just like the one you get when chopping onions, or squirting lemon juice in your eye - but they didn't tell me just how much they would affect my vision. Now I am very short sighted - without my glasses I struggle to read anything further away than a foot - by these eye drops made my eyesight worse while I was still wearing my glasses!!!And what was even stranger was that my eyesight was slightly better when I took off my glasses The whole experience was really weird - usually it takes 7 or 8 pints to have that affect on me.

Alright - 2 or 3 pints.



Okay......1 pint.


I get the results next week. I'm not worried, because worrying won't do anything - I'm not in any pain, and cannot see any change for the worse in my sight. Of course I hope that I get the all clear, and for that reason will be keeping my fingers - and eyes - crossed.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Too Much Thinking......And Ways To Save The Planet

So I was at work today loading a lorry, with the lorry driver in the back of his truck moving the pallets into place with a set of pallet jacks, and me putting the pallets onto the truck with the forklift. When loading a lorry this way (through the back doors), there is always a period of delay where I am waiting for the driver to move a pallet that I have loaded, so that I can load another pallet. So wondered, how to solve this problem........

It all lies in the distance between the truck, and the pallets - and the time it takes for the man on the truck to pull a pallet into place, and return to collect the next. The key is to have the pallets far enough away so that the time it takes the forklift to collect a pallet and load it on the truck is equal (or ever so slightly less) than the time it takes for the man on the truck to put the loaded pallet into place. This time should never change, for as the truck gets loaded and the distance the man pulling the pallets has to move decreases, so the distance the forklift has to move to collect the next pallets increases. So it all depends on where you place your pallets, and how close the truck stops to be loaded. There must definitely be a mathematical equation for this.

And then I thought, "Shut up Larry - it's only loading pallets."


Apparently, there is a new Eco-friendly way of saying goodbye to the deceased. Liquefaction, is the watchword - or Alkaline Hydrolysis, if you prefer. Basically, the body is dissolved in heated alkaline water. The "green" advantage of this new system is t. hat it allows for the safe disposal of dental Amalgam (fillings). In the current method of Cremation, the Mercury in the fillings vaporised account for 16% of the UK's Mercury emissions. So, even after death, you can still do your part for the planet by having yourself dissolved.

Personally, I'm going to be stuffed and left on display in a big glass case (not a big glasses case), for my loved ones to enjoy for years to come.

Sod the planet.


Speaking of saving the planet, there is another way in which we can do our Eco bit: Luminous Urine.
Now bear with me on this one, and think about it. If your pee glows in the dark, you need not have the light on at night. You will save money, electricity, and the planet. And yes, you can really have luminous urine - there is a medical term for it: Photuria - the passing of phosphorescent urine. What I don't know however, is how you get such a condition; there is speculation that it is an after effect of taking certain vitamin supplements, or as a result of a sudden change in diet. For all we know, a local Chicken Tikka Masala might well do the trick.
And if you drink enough fluids, you might be able to illuminate the bathroom long enough for your partner to have a bath, or a shower, or a shave. I mean one of those - not all three.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Scam

I've just seen an advert for building a model battleship - you know the ones, you collect the pieces weekly or monthly with an informative magazine and then at the end you have a great model of a battleship. Or at least that is what the adverts tell you. The model on the advert I saw was for the HMS Blatent Scam - or it might as well have been, because you never end up getting all the bits you need.
For a start, they break the model up into hundreds of pieces, and if you are collecting them weekly, it will take over two years to get all the pieces. In that time, a child would have outgrown such things. And what if each piece is released monthly? A model containing 167 pieces to collect and build would take almost 14 years to complete - by which time you have grown up and started a family of your own. Or if you are an adult collector, you could be dead, or have Alzheimer's and not remember why you have this pieces in the first place.
And the price - the advert always says "Part One - just 50p", to make us think it is a bargain. What is hard to see (because it is in tiny letters in the corner of the screen) is the mention that the other parts will cost you £17.99. So the whole thing will cost you over £3000! And you can get a darn sight more that an 1/160th scale model of a battelship for that!
The companies that do these things should be honest, and rather than try to sell us a complete replica of a working battleship, just sell us a model of a shipwreck - we never end up getting all the pieces anyway becuase the company doesn't make them all, so why sell something that can never be completed, when you can sell something that isn't complete in the first place, and therefore won't leave the collector disappointed. And for the collector it is much more fun, because they can choose to stop collecting whenever they want, so that their model replica of a shipwreck can look exactly the way they want it to, with maybe different bits missing.


You will all be pleased to know that I will be back on the exercise kick this week. I bought some new trainers at the weekend, and will be resuming my fitness walking, without fear of blisters. And it's a good job too - I weighed myself on Saturday, and found that I am 16st 4lbs , which is a bit more than I thought. And as I will be thinking about looking at suits shortly, I think it would do me no harm to lose a few pounds so that I feel and look better.

Of course, tonight is not this week (in my book) so I will be having some chocolate while I watch a Blu-Ray DVD to round off my Bank Holiday weekend.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

If Only I had Been This Funny At School

I think social networking sites are a bit of a "Marmite" issue - people either love them, or loathe them. I like it - mainly because through it I have got back in touch with a lot of old school friends, and family that I otherwise would struggle to keep in contact with (because I'm rubbish at doing so). Now some people say that Facebook Friends are not real friends - and I can understand their reasoning. In a lot of cases, we will never meet some of the people that we add as a friend on Facebook - because of the geographical distances, as well as the fact that they are a friend of a friend, or a secondhand friend, as I like to call them. However most of our friends, are genuine friends.

I am especially happy that I have so many friends from my school years - and am grateful for their friendship and love. And I mean that - whenever an old Friend says something nice about me, or "likes" one of my comments or status updates, I genuinely like it; and I think it is because I don't remember us being this friendly at School.

Now I may be doing them a disservice here - and if so I apologise. As with all of us, my recollections are based on what I can remember - and my School years were not the happiest of my life. I certainly wasn't one of the popular crowd, nor could I ever be considered one of the good looking kids - although in recent years I have been told that couple of people did fancy me (Annette Beasley, and Helen Mundy allegedly), but this is information which would have been more useful to me years ago.

I was a quiet, geeky, different kind of kid - here is a picture of me at 15/16 years old:
The 1986 "Who's Got The Worst Jumper" Competition Ends In a Draw



 I know that at that age none of us are complete as individuals, but I just wish that I had had the sense of humour that I have now, back then. Or at least the confidence to express myself more in that way. Instead, I seemed to spend most of my School life trying to avoid trouble - and I wasn't massively successful at that.

I'm going to a School reunion next year - 25 years since I have seen most of my Facebook school friends. It will be a great night, and I am looking forward to it immensely. I suppose what I really wish is that we could all have been the people we are now back in 1986/7 when we were at school. But we weren't - at least I wasn't.

And whilst I acknowledge that my sense of humour is rubbish, and silly, and stupid, and not to everyones taste, I know that it fits who I am perfectly. I am definitely of the opinion that in spite of a slow start in life with pretty much everything, now I am getting better as I get older, and am definitely making up for lost time.

I can't wait until I'm 90 years old - by then I'll be amazing!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Ninja Reconnaissance Snail.......and The Karma Trail Continues - On Foot

So I was still in a "doing" mood this morning, and got up at 8am and cleaned my windows, tidied my garden, put some washing on and out, and started the houseowork. I always start in the Kitchen, and then do the Bathroom then then rest of the house. With the kitchen sparkling, and fingers burning (here's a tip: blisters and bleach based cleaning agents don't mix), I went into the bathroom to start cleaning in there. I had only squirted some toilet duck down the toilet when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. There was a round dark object at the top of one wall in the middle, right against the ceiling. It was about the size of a two pound coin.

My inital thought was that it might be the early stages of a wasps nest - but then I remembered they tend to be more colourful, as in this picture:

"We love the colour scheme!"
So it wasn't a wasps nest - but what was it? I didn't know, but I knew I had to get rid of it. So, I grabbed a handful of kitchen towel, which as we all know is the tool of choice for removing everything from spiders web to a buffalo - should you find such an thing in your home. I removed the object from the wall, and as I held it I could tell it was hard. With the same feelings of apprehension and curiosity you get when you look into a tissue after blowing your nose, I opened the ball of kitchen towel carefully and looked inside.... I wasn't prepared for what I saw - it wasn't a wasp nest, it was a snail.

You heard me: a snail.

I was shocked and confused; How on earth did that snail get to the top of the wall in my bathroom? and more importantly - how come I never saw it!?
As we all know, snails aren't the fastest of movers and I am fairly sure that in the length of time it would have taken that snail to climb up that wall, I would have walked into my bathroom and seen it.
Unless it happened while I was asleep - but how did he (all snails are male) get into my bathroom in the first place? The one window is shut at night, and I close the door to the bathroom whenever I leave it. The snail couldn't have fitted under the gap at the bottom of the door, because of it's shell.

Maybe this was a new species of snail - the Ninja snail. Obviously, it hitched a ride into the bathroom at some point on the bottom of my jeans, or disguised as a tube of toothpaste, and then waited for me to go to bed before starting his ascent. But what was his aim? Why scale the wall..........unless he was an advance scouting party for an army of Ninja snails who were coming to overrun me. This Ninja reconnaissance snail was obviously checking out the bathroom as a possible point of first assault - well not anymore. Now he's stuck in complete darkness in my bin, that's the invasion thwarted.

Although, I didn't check him for a radio..........


It has been a good day today. I have been very pro-active in the housework and defence of my home front, and I continued to do good deeds. I rang my friends Heather and Peter and asked if I could pop over and see them. Being a polite chap, I bought some "Just because" flowers for Heather - these are my favourite types of flowers to buy for someone because you need absolutely no reason to give them to the intended recipient, and when they ask why, you just say "just because". So I drove over to see those two, and discovered that Peter had had a prang in his car. A young girl had driven into the side of the car and not only dented the door and front wing, but had knackered the steering mechanism.So they were going to be without a car for a while until their car was repaired.

Not if  could help it. I offered them the use of my car - I don't use it to get to work, and won't need to use it for at least three weeks, as I can get shopping etc. in Sturminster Newton, where I live. I arranged to give them the car tomorrow, after I come back from Yeovil. The Larry Lagrue Karma Bus will be temporarily transferred to foot power - but there will be no lack of service.

So that's another good thing I've done, which means at some point, somewhere, something good will happen to me. Actually, it propbably already has - Heather picked some fresh Raspberries from her garden, and gave them to me to take home. They are delicious - and I am going to nip out now and buy some Ice Cream to enjoy them with.

Not too shabby, I think you'll agree?

Friday, 26 August 2011

Jekyll & Hyde Days

"What a difference a day makes - twenty four little hours......"

Whoever wrote those lyrics, knew what he (or she) was talking about. Before I go on, let me apologise for yesterday. I really was feeling sorry for myself, and it showed in my blog. As it turns out, the reason I was feeling so crappy was a lack of sleep, combined with a lack of money and a decent amount of food inside me. And by inside me, I mean my stomach - don't start getting inappropriate here people.

Today, however I am back to my usual self. I'll let you decide whether that is a good thing or not. I woke up this morning at 7am still tired, but in a better mood. I actually went to bed at Midnight last night, which might not have seemed the brightest idea considering having got up at 5am yesterday morning I would have been awake for 19 hours. However, there was a method to my madness as I was so knackered that I fell asleep straight off. No troubled sleep for me last night! Of course, I'm not advocating the benefits of a 19 hour day - that was a one off. I certainly hope it was.

So I started the day in a better mood. Work was quiet - from 10:30am onwards, I was the only one in the office. I had been paid though, so I did some juggling with money in accounts via online banking, and basically allocated all the money I needed for my bills, put money aside for food shopping for the month, set aside the money I needed to finish paying for my Sign Language course, and at the end of it all knew exactly how much money I had left for socialising and fun stuff.
Being a Friday, and being the only one in the office, I finished work at 2:45pm. I had been sent a text by a friend, asking if I could pick her up from work at 5:30, and I decided that I would go and do my food shopping, and then swing past and pick her up on the way back.

Usually I budget about £40 per week for shopping - which includes, cleaning products, toiletries and food for the week. This month, I have it set at £34 per week, but I knew that being the first week of the month, and also knowing that my kitchen looked like Old Mother Hubbard's show home, I would have to spend more. So I took out £50 for this weeks shopping - which still leaves me with £30 a week for the next four weeks (It's a 5 week month this month). So off I go to Tesco and do my shopping. This might just be me, but even though my shopping list has specific items on it, and I never deviate from it (if it ain't on it, I ain't buying it) I still have  to walk up every single aisle in the store. To not do that, just feels wrong.
I had a really good shop (that sounds so sad ha ha ha!) - I was keeping a running tally in my head of what it would all come to, and was picking up some good bargains like 1.5ltr washing liquids buy one get one free. When I got to the checkout, I thought it came to about £45. Turns out it was £52.50 - but I had £2.50 in my pocket (that's not all I gave - they got the £50 too), and the fact that I had spent over £50 meant I got a 5p off a litre of petrol voucher too. I was going to fill up next anyway, so that was a result.
I was in a good mood. As I loaded my shopping into the car, there was a young couple loading their shopping into their car at the same time. Being a lovely bloke, I offered to take their trolley back for them with mine. It's a small tiny insignificant thing to do, but it was a nice thing to do, it cost me nothing, and I got a good feeling from it. What I didn't realise is that while I was taking the trolleys back, they were nicking my shopping out of my boot!

That's a lie - I just put that in for dramatic effect.

With my shopping intact, I went to the petrol station and filled up. I went to the Kiosk to pay, and picked up some screen wash and a new car air freshener. That was two more things ticked off my "to do" list. I was in a real "doing" mood. However, In my excitement I forgot to hand over the 5p off voucher. I didn't realise until I got back to the car. I wasn't angry, or annoyed - I was in far too much of a good mood for that - but what I did do was give my voucher to the young lady who was filling her car up at the pump opposite. I was on fire! metaphorically speaking of course, there wasn't a rogue spark that suddenly ignited the petrol station.

Shopping and petrol sorted, I picked up my friend from work. On the way home, she asked if we could make small detour to a local shop. I said of course - and in return she bought me a 230g bar of Cadburys Whole Nut. Remember my blog about short term instant Karma exchange? Another example there. I dropped my friend at home, and had a coffee and a catch up with the Best Dogs in The World. If you don't know who they are (and you must do by now) here they are:

Herbie (left) and Joey
Megan











As you can see, these dogs are another reason I am in such a good mood. After far too brief a visit, I came home. I was now hungry, and as I had got paid today decided to spoil myself with a takeaway. But what to have? I live next door to an Indian takeaway, there is a Pizza and Kebab place opposite, a fish and chip shop 100 yards down the road, and a Chinese takeaway in the town, 5 minutes away. In the end, I went for Pizza - washed down with a couple of Budweisers, which I got 10 for £7 for in my local Co-op.

And that brings us up to speed. I'm just finishing off today's blog and then will be settling down to watch "Inception" (and then go "Huh? I need to watch that again). I'm still in a "doing" mood, so tomorrow will be blitzing the housework including washing the windows, clearing the guttering, and tidying the garden. On Sunday I will pop over to Yeovil for a bit of retail therapy - I'm buying trainers so I can re-start my fitness walking, but without the blisters - before coming home to watch the Man Utd vs Arsenal game on Sky.

As for Monday - as yet unknown. But I'm open to offers........

Whatever you do, have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Wrong

Something is definitely not right.

I'm not feeling to good - and haven't been for a few days now. I don't know if it is because I am not eating properly (I have eaten junk all day today - a chocolate pastry thing this morning, a pot noodle for lunch, and several chocolate digestives throughout the day), or if there is something else going on. I have a headache for long periods of time, I'm having real difficulty in getting to sleep, and my dreams are troubled. I get paid tomorrow, so should be in a good mood but I'm just not feeling it right now. I just feel stressed a lot of the time, but I have nothing that troubling on my mind - at least I think not.

Maybe it is food related - for the last week I have been living on tins of soup, some vegetables, but no "proper" meals. Maybe this is my body's way of telling me to make eating properly a priority, and therefore think about what groceries I buy in future.

Maybe I am worrying about stuff - my sister (hello sis) hasn't been to well recently and is having some tests, so maybe it's that. Or maybe it's the fact that I have my long awaited eye scan next week to see if I have something wrong with my eyes - although I don't the results straight away, so technically I'm worrying about nothing. If it is that, that is.

Maybe I'm just tired after starting work this morning at 5:45am. I don't know.


I'll be fine - normal rubbish service will be resumed tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Blisters, Bananas, and The Split Second Ripeness of Pears

It's been a long day today. I started work this morning at 7:15am as I had to pull the 52 pallets that were being collected today - 38 going to Burnley and 14 going to Snetterton, Norfolk - and finish preparing them. Some had to be split down, others had to be double stacked - but all needed to be shrink wrapped.

For those of you who haven't spent the majority of your lives in and around warehouses and their related intricacies, shrink wrap (aka pallet wrap or stretch wrap) is basically a bigger version of cling film. It comes on a roll - we get them in 300 metres rolls - and is used to protect the good on the pallet and prevent them from moving/falling over during transit.

I believe there are many different methods of holding the shrink wrap whilst wrapping a pallet. Whether it be the "Helsinki hand-roll" method, or the "Bolivian overhang" technique, there is no definitive right way to do it. There are several wrong ways to do it, however. Personally I choose to use the index finger method. Basically I hold the roll of shrink wrap by putting each index finger into each end of the cardboard core. This allows the roll to spin freely as I wrap the pallet. I find this is the most comfortable way to do it - usually. Today, however due to the number of pallets requiring wrap, I developed "wrap core blisters" on the index finger of my left hand. This is caused by friction as the cardboard core spins round against my finger. Normally, I don't get blisters as I only wrap between 6 and 14 pallets at a time, but today I was forced to alter my holding method due to the pain of the blister. Foolishly, I chose to use my middle finger to hold the top of the roll steady - exposing virgin skin to the ravages of cardboard friction. Needless to say, I got a new, even more painful blister on that finger.

The bad news is that I have 10 more pallets to wrap tomorrow. I will have to wear plasters like a girl.

There is no good news.


Speaking of fruit, did you know that Bananas release a gas called Ethylene which helps them to ripen. This gas will also make any other fruit in the same bowl ripen too - which is why scientists (scientists? grocers maybe, but scientists?) say that bananas will make other fruit spoil, and should be kept separate. This is why the Banana hanger was invented.
But did you also know that the gas released by bananas affect other things than fruit? If you leave a banana in your bread bin, it will make your bread go stale faster than normal. If you put a banana in a cup of tea with a tea bag in, that cup of tea will brew (ripen) faster than if just left with the tea bag. It has even been suggested that if you leave a banana (unpeeled) next to your skin, the Ethylene gas emitted by the banana will make the area of skin closest to it age faster than areas further away. That's why monkeys and apes always have old mans hands even from a young age, because of the number of bananas they handle.

That's amazing, isn't it? And also untrue - but I reckon you could convince some people about the bread though. Give it a try tomorrow.

But Bananas do make other fruit go off quickly. All except pears it would appear. Pears seem to have their own thing going on when it comes to ripening. There is a really short period of time where a pear is actually ripe enough to eat, but before you no it, they have gone bad. You know what it is like, you buy some pears and they are rock hard. You leave them for days and they are still too hard to eat, And then one day you walk over to the fruit bowl and they there are - rotting away in front of your eyes. In the seven days between buying them and throwing them away because they have turned to mush, there must be something like a thirty second window in which they are perfect to eat, and if you don't catch them at that exact moment, they'll be ruined.

It's like unripe....unripe.....unripe......unripe......unripe.......RIPE FOR THIRTY SECONDS - Rotten.

At the other end of the spectrum are Limes - they never seem to go off. I've got some limes in my fridge, that are older than I am, and they still taste great in a bottle of Sol or San Miguel.
If you haven't tried a slice of lime in a bottle of San Miguel, I recommend it.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Hobby

On my way home from work this evening, in the distance I saw an old man acting very strangely. He was in one of those motorised scoooters, but was bent double to one side as his scooter slowly trundled along the pathway.
My first thought was that he had either A) fallen asleep, or B) had some sort of "Episode" and was unconcious and out of control. As he was heading towards the road, I thought I might have to run to his aid and stop the scooter before it rolled into the road - just like when you see police smash the window of a run away car before leaping in and taking control. Only much, much, slower.

Incidentally, why do we say that someone has an "Episode"? And the very first time they have one of these "Episodes", are they having a "Pilot"? Just wondering, that's all.

As I approached the old man on his scooter, I could see that he was in fact awake, and appeared to be looking for something. He had stopped and was so busy looking down at the pavement, that he hadn't noticed me. I said hello, and asked if he had lost something. He looked up, and I expected him to tell me that he had lost something of great value to him - his recently deceased wife's wedding ring perhaps, or a photo of his grandchildren that had fallen out of his pocket somewhere.

"Snail shells", he said to me with a smile on his wrinkly old face.

It turns out that he was looking for empty snail shells. It is a hobby of his, and he has a collection of over 100 different shells all from the surrounding area. Apparently he is having them put into a display case. At little surprised at this, I wished him luck in his search, and carried on home.

This meeting with this old man got me thinking - what hobby will I have when I am old and frail, and maybe living in a care home like that old man? I can't imagine what the world will be like when I am eighty or ninety years of age (assuming I make it that long), so maybe with advances in technology things will be very different. For all I know, science might have developed a way to view all your memories on a screen like a film, and people will just spend all day remembering things from the past.

I do hope that the old man I met didn't have his hobby because he was lonely, and had no-one visiting him. I think it would be terribly sad to live a lonely life.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Sun, Sea, and........a Strange Feeling That Something Isn't Right.

When it comes to travel (and women, and common sense, and aptitude of any description) I am somewhat of a late bloomer. My first foreign Holiday outside of school didn't happen until 1993, when I went to Tunisia with some friends. I returned from that holiday, with the travel bug. Luckily, I got some cream from the chemist, and it soon cleared up. What didn't clear up, however, was the need to travel again - I wanted to see the world, and see it fast!
Within a week of coming back to England, I was in the travel agents looking at holidays. I had decided that I didn't want to do a 'local' holiday - Spain, Italy, Canvey Island, but instead wanted to visit somewhere far away. After much deliberation, I chose a holiday to Cancun, Mexico. But I wasn't mucking about - I went for a two week, all inclusive holiday in a 5 star Resort - the Eldorado Royale Spa Resort in Playa Del Carmen. If you want to see what it is like, click here. I also chose that destination because I was an Adults only resort, and I was hoping for a bit of holiday romance. The cost of the holiday was £1300 and I paid it off monthly in instalments. I was booked to leave on 7th September 2004 (almost 7 years ago), and I couldn't wait.

Soon enough the day came, and I boarded flight MYT023 from Gatwick bound for Cancun. It was a 10 hour flight, but I had extra legroom so it was alright. We landed in Cancun and I got my transfer to the Hotel. There were a few other people travelling to the hotel with me, three or four couples - some of them newlyweds, so we  had a bit of a chat along the way. We got to the hotel, and when I checked in, I was given a complimentary glass of champagne, and waited to be taken to my accommodation. The hotel was amazing, and the gardens were beautiful. And my room was amazing too - a massive walk in shower, king size bed, and a  jacuzzi. Being all inclusive, there was 24 hour room service, and I could have what I want from the mini bar. It really was a great place to come on holiday - but there was one teeny weeny little problem that I had discovered.

Yes, it was adults only. However, it was also couples only.

I was the only single person out of about 500 couples. D'oh!

For two weeks, I ate alone in every one of seven different restaurants. I sat on the beach alone, every day and worked on my tan. At various times between midnight and 5am during the course of my stay I would ring room service and order a burger and fries, followed by cheesecake - for one. I didn't meet another single person (non-couple) until the afternoon of the day before I left. It really was a fail of epic proportions - but not my only one.

You know how on these holidays there are various excursions you can go on?  well I booked myself onto a 2 for 1 excursion deal: we would visit the ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza, and then go on to a place called Xel Ha which calls itself a "natural aquarium" - you can swim with fishes and turtles and dolphins etc.  The plan was to go by coach to Chichen Itza, then leave at Midday and go to Xel Ha. We go to Chichen Itza, and are told to be back at the coach by 11:50am. So I go wandering around taking pictures etc. and admiring the scenery - not thinking about the time. I don't have a watch with me, but I know I haven't been gone that long.

Wrong.

I walk back to where the coaches are parked and find that my coach has gone on to Xel Ha without me. I was about 45 minutes late in coming back admittedly. But now I'm stuck in Chichen Itza with no money (it's with my swimming gear on the coach), with just my camera and Panama hat - I was stranded but dapper. After a mini panic, I manage to blag my way onto another coach that is going to Xel Ha. Problem solved - I just catch up with my coach there, get my gear and enjoy myself at Xel Ha.

Problem not solved. When I get to Xel Ha, my coach is not there. It has gone on to collect some more people - still with my swimming gear and money on board. So for three hours, I am at this fabulous natural aquarium, where you can swim with turtles, dolphins, and all manner of exotic fish - and I have to sit in a chair and do nothing.

What an absolute nightmare.

The final thing (cos things happen in 3's) was that one night I got a little drunk - drowning my sorrows at my abysmal lack of luck no doubt), and when I got back to my hotel room, I knocked a lamp over and smashed it. And the hotel charged me $50 for it. I should have tried to blame it on Hurricane Ivan, which swept through about 300 miles of shore during the second week. The beach got washed about 100 metres in land, and for one night I was advised to sleep in my shower, in case my windows got blown in.

It sounds like I had a really rotten time of it, but in fact I had a really really good time. I loved the resort, and would like to visit it again sometime - but next time, I'll take someone with me.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Bed, Batons, Bangers, Budget, and Biting My Lip

I had a small disconcerting moment this morning when I woke up. It wasn't the slight hangover caused by the previous night's socialising, nor the fact that for the first ten seconds of being awake I was convinced it was Monday morning and I was late for work. The thing that caused me slight concern is the small metal bolt that I found down the side of my mattress. I recognised the bolt instantly as being one of the may bolts used to hold my bed frame together, and the combination of my imagination and my linear thought processes started to cause me alarm.
I realised that part of my bed was now no longer held together. I didn't know exactly what part of the bed, or if the bolt I had discovered was not alone in its non-bolting status. Although totally unnecessary, I froze where I was sat up in bed - as if I had woken up lying in a minefield. In my mind, the slightest movement could result in the collapse of my bed, and possible injury to myself. This feeling didn't last, as I reminded myself that the bed is designed to sit really low to the ground, with less that an inch clearance - so I didn't have far to fall. I got out of bed without incident, and started my day. At present I am halfway through changing the bed linen - the old bed linen is off, and the new is waiting to go on - and will use this time to check my bed for constructional weak points. I had better check it tonight, as I am prone to procrastination and could quite easily not bother to check it until one night the whole thing collapses in a heap with me mangled in the wreckage.


So last night was Sturminster Carnival, and they have a procession of floats etc. It was all very good, but I have to say that I have never seen so many Majorette groups in such a short space of time. Virtually every other thing was a Majorette group, all twirling their batons, and dancing to some pop tune that somebody thought would be good to use. And though I saw the Majorette groups as they went by, I wasn't actually looking as it felt wrong looking at young children in leotards. I think the minimum age for Majorettes should be 18, and the maximum size should be a 12. There were quite a few large Majorettes squeezed in to costumes that they shouldn't really be wearing.


As you know I like to experiment a little in the kitchen. I don't mean I try to wash my clothes in the oven, or keep my cold foods in the washing machine. I mean in terms of food. Now I only do small experiments - mainly because I have to eat it, but also because I'm not a very good cook. So tonight I was having Sausages, potatoes and veg, and all I did was take the sausages, drizzles a little oil on them, and then roll them in Parsley, Oregano, and mixed herbs before cooking them under the grill.  To be honest, they turned out alright - but I won't bookmark that idea in my brain for later use. I've tried it, it works to a degree. Now move on.


So back to work tomorrow - but I get paid on Friday, Woo Hoo! I must say that I am a little proud of myself, because this month I have managed to break a cycle. No, I didn't smash up the bike belonging to the annoying little kid across the street (although it's coming, you cheeky little git!) - I mean I have stopped a bad financial habit of mine. For the past few months I have got into the habit of running out of money by about the 2nd week, and taking out a small overdraft to see me through until payday. As soon as I get paid, I pay off the overdraft - but this leaves me with less money, so and I run out again. However, this month I haven't taken out an overdraft. As I type this, I literally have no money to my name, and just enough food to have meals every night until payday. It has been tough, but now that I have broken the cycle I know I can do it from now on. And as part of my budgeting this month, I had to pay my deposit for my Sign Language course. I pay the rest of the course cost (£175) when I get paid next, but have factored that in to my calculations when working out what I have to pay for and what money I will have left for me. So it is all good.


One last thing: There was some unpleasantness at Sturminster Carnival last night. This drunk bloke started mouthing off at my friends, and then a little later on said something very nasty to me about my mum. I didn't respond to him, and later he got escorted away by the police. I feel guilty for not saying anything to him when he insulted mum. I know he was just looking for trouble - he was not as tall as me, but he was big built and if it had kicked off, I would have come off the worst. I did the right thing by not getting involved - but on the flip side resent the fact that I let this guy say something horrible to me.

I know he wasn't worth it, but I'm angry for letting it happen. I just needed to get that off my chest.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Out.

This is going to be a brief post, as I am off out in a bit to Sturminster Carnival.



Thanks for reading.








I'm joking of course - not about going out, I am really am going out (even though I have got no cash).  So to get straight to the point - I have realised there is a flaw in my plan to do another Stand up Gig at Last Monday at The Exchange: The next "Last Monday" is on Monday 26th September - which is the night my first Sign Language Class is. And as my class runs every Monday for 25 weeks, I won't be able to make the open mic night at "Last Monday" until approximately April 2012.

At least I'll have time to practice.

So I'm off out tonight - but what do I wear? At present I am as naked as the day I was born. Just keep that image in your head for a moment - me sitting here, naked on the edge of my sofa, those bits that dangle, dangling nicely as my feverish typing causes movement to ripple around my body.

Sorry about that - I'm not sitting here naked, I'm wearing blue jeans, a polo shirt under a gray v-neck jumper. I am feeling a little hot - but am conscious of the drop in temperature as the night goes on. So do I forget the jumper and risk feeling cold later? or do I suffer the sweating now, in the knowledge that I'll be warm when it is cold outside?. I suppose I could take the jumper off for now and put it on later. Maybe I could sling it over my back and tie the arms in a know around my neck? If I do that, I might as well hang a sign round my neck that says "Twat - please punch me".

I'll sort it out. I've been invited out by friends, and rumour has it that another friend of theirs is coming along - and that this friend is both female and single.

I have trimmed my nose hair - just in case.......

Friday, 19 August 2011

I Have Nothing To Fear Except Fear Itself. Oh, and heights, drowning (infact death of any style), being punched, and rejection. To name a few.

Aha! you've noticed I changed my Blog slightly.....you like, yes? No? suit yourself - I like it.

I've often wondered what it would have been like to live in one of the many centuries gone by. I think I would have especially like to live when the world was being discovered by brave men on long sea voyages. I could see myself embarking on a voyage to discover a new world - well, I say I could if it wasn't for the fact that I'm not very good in boats. It's not the fact that I get seasick (although I do, but can deal with it) but I always seem to worry about falling overboard and drowning.

On my recent Scotland Holiday, my friends and I (they're my friends - I like them, they can't stand me) went on a boat trip to the Isle of Rhum - for details, check out my blog of 13th May 2011. It was a fairly rough crossing, and while my friend Jim unfortunately fought the urge to vomit over the side due to seasickness, I was fighting the urge not to poo myself in sheer terror. As the boat pitched and rolled in the rough seas, it felt to me at times that we might capsize, and all be thrown into the sea. Knowing that I'm not a strong swimmer, I felt that in the event of such things happening, I could quite possibly drown - and I didn't like it.

And this is my problem - my perception of what might happen invokes my fear reflex, which in turn spoils my enjoyment of things, and in certain ways life. The people driving that boat from the Mainland to the island of Rhum do it at least twice a day, almost every day - and have been doing so for a long time. They would know if the seas were too rough to cross, and they would know the limits of their boat. There are safety procedures in place, and equipment available - so I should have thought about those things, and not have been so scared. And I was scared at times. I'm 40 years old, and I was scared. I'm not saying that I should have sat on that boat and not been mindful of the fact that I could get tipped out, just that I should not worry so much.

I do worry too much. I have never had a fight, apart from when I was a kid. As a rule, I don't stand up for myself - Although I came very close a few weekends ago to actually punching someone. I was leaving the pub (after having one drink) when I passed a former work colleague. he said goodnight, and I did the same - but then when my back was turned, he insulted me - but loudly enough for me to hear. Instantly I was enraged and would have gone into the pub to have it out with this idiot but I was with friends, and I am friendly with the people that own the pub. If I see that guy in the street however, I will be having words.

I was bullied at school, Secondary school mind you - at an age when I was over six foot tall, and taller than any other kid in my school. There is no way I should have let myself be bullied - but the fear of being hit, and the pain it would cause overruled every other instinct. I have never been punched in the face, but I have seen other people get punched and seem okay (as much as you can do when you have just been punched), and have been wrestling in my mind with my fear of being hit, and trying to rationalise just how bad it could be. I thought about it long and hard - so much so that I briefly considered asking my best mate Ben to punch me in the face one time, just so I can see what it is like. How ridiculous is that? Although I know Ben would be only too happy to oblige - well he is my best mate. For a split second, I thought about asking my mate Jim to punch me - but then I remembered how bloody massive his arms are, and thought that it probably wouldn't end well.

I'm also scared of heights - but was embarrassed and ashamed in Scotland when I told my friends I couldn't go any higher when we were on a relatively easy walk. I could have gone higher - and I did, but again I let my fear control me. I was in the most beautiful scenery, with a group of people who mean such a great deal to me, and it was overshadowed by my thinking that every next step would see me slip off the edge, and fall to my death.

Sometimes I think that my fear, and my fear of dying stops me living.

I know that fear is a good thing, and that we all need fear in certain ways. But I know that I am too fearful. I am going to try from now on to take control of my fear - I'm not promising I won't have a fear of heights, or if I get thrown overboard I'll just smile and shout "leave me, I'm fine - you go and enjoy yourselves and I'll catch you on the way back!" - but I will  try not to worry too much. I'm certainly not going to go looking for trouble, but I will stand up for myself. And if I get a slap, I get a slap - cuts heal, broken bones mend, blood clots.

I promised myself that I would do more in the next forty years of my life than I did in the previous. I'm off to a good start, but need to make sure that I don't stop myself experiencing life because of my fears or worries.

Anyway, must go - there's a queue of friendly neighbours at my door. They're very kindly offering to show me what it is like to be punched in the face.


Aren't people nice?

Thursday, 18 August 2011

No Pete Mitchell Still Doesn't Live Here - Like I told You Last Month.

Few things in this life are constant - The changing of the seasons, this country's inability to deal with Snow, the way my nose looks like I'm hiding two small spiders when my nostril hair needs trimming, and the fact that at least once a month I get phone call that isn't for me, but is always for the same person.

I keep getting phone calls for some guy called Peter Mitchell. The people calling Mr Mitchell are always from the same company. I forget which company it is, as I stopped asking after the fourth phone call (back in November 2010) - but they have a call centre, which means they are a faceless organisation filled with mindless zombies with no will of their own.

The first few times, I tried to help them  as much as I could: No, Mr Mitchell doesn't live here. Yes, you have dialled the number on your system correctly, but I think BT have given me this number as the address I've read out to you doesn't match your records. You say you'll update your system? thank you.

Surprisingly, the novelty of going through all that time and time again started to wear off. For a while, it seemed that they (the great faceless corporation) were losing interest too, because the next few calls I got all ended when I said that he didn't live here. Then tonight, they were back on form.......

(Phone Rings)
Me: "Hello?"
Caller: "Hello, can I speak to Peter Mitchell please?"
Me: "I'm sorry, he doesn't live here."
Caller: "Oh, is that 01258 *** ***?"
Me: "Yes, but there is no Peter Mitchell living here - what address do you have under this telephone number on your system?"
Caller: "I'm afraid I can't give out that information."
Me: (sighs) "Well my address is (gives address)"
Caller: Oh, I'm sorry about that - we'll update our records. Thank you, goodbye"
Me: "Goodbye"

From that entire conversation, only one thing is certain - they won't update their records. The moment the call was ended, that female caller went right on to her next call. At the very most, she wiggled her fingers six inches above her keyboard. I'm pretty sure that I have been called by a different person each time, and each of them have lied down the telephone.

The thing is, I don't even know what they are calling about. What has Peter Mitchell done? Is he being chased for an overdue invoice? or is he the linchpin in an international shoe horn smuggling operation, bringing exotic shoe horns in to the country from all over the globe to be sold for thousands on the shoe horn black market? Whatever he has done, these people are after him.

But if whoever is after Peter Mitchell cannot be bothered to listen to a word I say whenever they call, then I might just have to start playing games with them.
The next time they call, I might just tell them that he is dead. Yeah, make up some ridiculous story - like how he used to love having his breakfast on a floating tray in the bath, except this one occasion when he insisted on having toast, and when the toast popped, in his haste to grab the lovely toasted bread, poor Peter accidentally knocked the toaster into the bath and electrocuted himself.

Or pehaps, I should put on a stupidly unrealistic mexican Accent - "Noh, Peeeeeter Meeeeetchill ees nott heeeeeer seeenyor - he eeees eeen horspitol, he eeees seeeeek."

Or maybe, I should just answer the phone  and when they ask to speak to Peter Mitchell, just shout at the top of my voice "SHIT!! PETE!! - THEY FOUND YOU!! RUN!!!" and then drop the phone, and leave it for a couple of minutes.

Actually, I could just say that I am Peter Mitchell - and see what happens.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Hatch of Mystery

Despite its best efforts, the severed arm couldn't escape

My House is old - I think about three hundred years old or so. The picture above is of my loft hatch. I have included my arm and hand in the picture to show just how tiny that loft hatch is. Now there is no way I will ever be able to get through that hatch and into my loft , and as a result, I have never looked in my loft. In theory, I could poke my head up through the hatch and have a look.

Sod it - I'm going to. Wait here a minute.


(talk amongst yourselves)



Well, I'm back. I was able to poke my head through the hatch - but not my shoulders so I couldn't really have a good look. As I tried to peer into the darkness, I could feel my head touching cobwebs. At that moment, a feeling of revulsion shot down my spine, along with a thought of "if a spider crawls on me I'm going to scream like a girl and soil myself".  I decided to retreat - but still wanted to know what was in my loft. Luckily, I had a flash of inspiration. I grabbed a torch and my mini video camera, raised my arms into the darkness,  and took a couple of pictures. This is what came out:






As you can see (or not) there is something up there. It's probably junk, but you still can't see all of the loft to be sure. Anyway, I didn't linger to long in the dark, with the musty smell of decay, as there might have been rats or stuff up there.
So I pulled my arms out and started to fiddle with the hatch to get it closed. I was having a wee bit of trouble, because the hatch appeared to be caught on something - and then I got the fright of my life.

Suddenly, the piece of cable in the picture here dropped out of the loft - straight in to my face. I hadn't noticed it when I initially poked my head up into the loft - so when it fell out, I nearly jumped out of my skin. In that fraction of a second when my eyes saw something come out of the hatch, but before my brain could process what it was, I was sure that piece of cable would be an arm, or a snake, or something horrible coming to get me.

I very nearly fell backwards off my arm chair!

From the size of the hatch, I can only assume that the people who lived in this house originally were very small - or that they just sent their Children up into the loft to fetch something. Or maybe that is where the children slept?
That was back in the days when children were useful - you could send them up Chimneys, or into small loft hatches, even use them to unblock sinks.

Not like today - lazy bunch of ingrates (shakes fist in an old-man-from-ScoobyDoo-cartoon style).

So the mystery of the loft hatch is (sort of) solved. I know there is stuff in my loft, and that it is most likely junk. I'm sure eventually, curiosity will persuade me to open up the hatch again, and investigate. But that will mean reaching into the darkness and - like a blind man at an orgy - just feeling things out. I'm also fairly sure that - like a Eunuch at an orgy - I won't be enjoying myself.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

This is My Dog -He's Just Turned Two, But He's Had a Hard Life.....

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button's Dog


Who came up with the idea that in age, one dog year is roughly equal to seven human years? We all know about this theory - but does anybody actual know who came up with it? Or if it was just made up by some bloke?

And if it was made up by some bloke - how did he ensure that people believed him? Normally, if  someone came up to you with a baby and said "It's my Sons first birthday today - he's Seven years old." You would think A) He was mental, and B) He shouldn't really be teaching maths at the local School. So why did people believe it about dogs? A hundred years ago, people didn't question things as much, and maybe the person that made this idea up gave out leaflets - the equivalent of today's posters. There are posters in Vets all over the country showing you how your dog ages - but that still doesn't mean it's true. If it did, I would get a poster made with a chart that showed the further you got away from me, the bigger my penis looked.

We all accept this idea about dogs ageing without question - and I think that is because we are a nation of dog lovers. We spend Billions on our Pets, and Dogs get most of it - because they give us love, and towards the end of their lives all we go on about is how old they are. "Yes, this is my dog - he fifteen you know. Of course in dog years, that's two hundred and seventy seven!"

Or something like that.

But why dogs? Why do we not hear about the ageing ratio between humans and Cats? Or Horses, or Fish, or Bees. Are there secret charts showing that Cats age even faster than dogs - so much so, that they actually regenerate several times over before finally dying at the human equivalent of 781 years old. And this is where we get the expression "a cat has nine lives", because it actually does - every now and then it regenerates its body at the same age but newer - like Doctor Who.

Tortoises for example - some live to be two hundred years old,  so they must be at the other end of the aging spectrum. One Human year is like three months to a tortoise maybe. Which is why they move so slowly - they know it is a marathon and not a sprint.

Maybe the whole dog ageing theory was cooked up by Vets and Pet Health care companies to make money. Oh, your pet is getting old - better buy our product to keep it alive a bit longer. Any of us who own a dog (or any pet) will know how expensive vet bills can be - so it's not out of the realms of possibility that every year the secret annual conference of Veterinary Doctors is held in a secret underground location, where the one and only topic of discussion is "One Dog Year = Seven Human Years - The Fools Still Believe It HA HA HA HA HA!!!!"


I'm just saying, that's all.

Monday, 15 August 2011

It's Like a Lucky Dip - But With No Rubbish Prizes

I believe in Karma. I also believe in Miracles - where are you from? you sexy thing you.

Sorry - the moment I thought about typing "I believe in Karma", the words to 'You Sexy Thing' by Hot Chocolate, popped into my head. And now I've got the lyrics to 'I Believe in a Thing Called Love' by The Darkness, running through my brain.

10 points to you if you started singing the lyrics to either of those songs - 20 points if you sang them out loud.

Where was I? oh yes - Karma. I believe in Karma - the idea that if you do something good, something good will happen to you. Similarly, if you do something bad, you open yourself up to misfortune. Now, my general thinking on Karma -  and this is just my opinion, so don't get the Karma police on my back (although, technically whenever the Karma police do turn up, the first thing they say is "Well, you sort of knew we'd be coming") - is that the receipt of good Karma or bad Karma is A) Not necessarily instant, and B) not equivalent to the size of the good or bad thing you did to warrant it. Basically if you do a good thing, the good thing that happens to you may not happen for a day, a week, a month, or even a year - but it will happen. Also, if you help an old lady cross the road it doesn't mean that someone will help you across the road - it could mean that you will win £10 on the lottery that week instead. It's not reflective (if that is the right word?).

However, I am now of the opinion that there is a short term direct Karma exchange system. I believe that in some instances, the good deed you do will be rewarded within a short space of time - based on my own experiences, within 30 to 60 minutes. In recent months, my experiences have been as follows:

  •  One Bunch of Flowers bought for no reason for an elderly friend is equal to a smile and a brief period of flirting with an attractive woman who was washing her car.
  • One gift of an unused, unopened Microsoft Web Cam is equal to a gift of a jar of home-made Runner Bean Chutney.

Now I know that these are only two examples, but that is how it is with Karma - if you are good all the time, you don't get the rewards all the time. You do get them - but most of them will come long after you have forgotten the good thing you did. The two examples above both happened within 60 minutes of the good thing being done, but these occurrences are rare. Getting a smile from a woman and flirting with her are certainly rare occurrences for me!

So I amend my thinking on Karma - or rather add to my thoughts on the matter. More often than not, the good thing that happens to you will happen long after the original good thing you did - but sometimes, you will get a little something quite soon after.
I am also sure that the same rules apply to Bad Karma - but perhaps we just put that down to 'Bad Luck' - rather than think about the bad we do to each other.

I know too that I have bad karma waiting for me down the line somewhere, and that I can't avoid it. What I can do is try to soften the blow by doing good things when I can in the hope that I get good Karma right after the bad Karma gets me.

Oh - but if I do that, am I really doing bad things still? because my intentions will be selfish...............

No - I won't be, because I will have forgotten that I wrote this blog by tomorrow, so my selfish intentions won't exist.


And relax.......

Sunday, 14 August 2011

That's Either Ketchup, or My House is Possessed!!!

I've just suffered a phantom injury.

I was sat in the lounge, with dinner on a tray on my lap. I was barefoot, and as I slid my feet across the floor (not all the way - how long do you think my legs are?), I felt a sharp pain in my foot. I lifted my foot up to check it, and tipped my dinner all over my lap.
Actually, that's not true - I didn't tip my dinner over myself, I put it down carefully before checking my foot. I just said I tipped it over myself in the hope that it might keep some of you reading this awake.

So I lifted my foot and found that it there was blood on my sole - and that there was blood on the carpet too. Which makes sense when you think about it, as my feet were touching the carpet. I cleaned the blood off, and checked for a wound - but could not find one. I checked the other foot - but that was free of any marks that would be considered a wound.

I really can't explain it - there was enough blood on the carpet and on the sole of my foot to lead me to believe that some sort of wound would be visible, but like a blind man in a pitch black room with a bag over his head, I couldn't see anything.

Unless......the blood on the carpet, came from the carpet............

Maybe in the space of the last hour or so, and evil spirit has possessed the soft furnishings of my home. I'm typing this Blog upstairs in my Armchair, but I am watching the curtains very carefully. I'm meant to be watching "The Lord of The Rings - The Return of The King" tonight, but if I go downstairs and find my cushions arranged in a Pentagram on the floor of my lounge, I'm not going to be very happy. Of course, it might not just be the soft furnishings that are possessed - for all I know, I might go to the bathroom before bed tonight, and hear a demonic voice come out from the depths of the toilet and say "GET OUT!!!...............but wash your hands first."

I don't know - maybe I'm exaggerating (you think?) but it's very weird that there was blood on my foot and the carpet, but no injury...............

(Cue music from "The Twilight Zone")

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Graves Have Been Changed To Protect The Innocent

I was watching a film tonight, and there was one scene set in a Clifftop Cemetery. This got me thinking about Coastal Erosion, and what would happen to a Cemetery that was in danger of falling into the sea.

Is there a relocation programme for the remains of people in a Cemetery, if that Cemetery is in danger of destruction? We have all heard about Witness Relocation Programmes, where people are taken from one location and moved to another to protect them - so are there other branches of this system?

Of course, I'm not suggesting for one second that in the event of a Cemetery relocation, all the Grave stones have new names chiseled into them - that would make it impossible for relatives to visit their deceased loved ones. Unless the relatives were told what their deceased loved ones "new identity" would be. Or would there simply be a new headstone with the words "You ain't seen me, right?" on it?

There must have been situations where a Cemetery has needed to be moved - but what happens in these situations?. And who runs the C.R.P? (Cemetery Relocation Programme). Is it a shadowy, Black Ops division of the Vatican? Do specially trained funeral directors come in at night via Stealth Helicopters to oversee the relocation of the deceased? Are the remains transported in muffled caskets - each casket carried by a special electric hearse, so that it is ultra quiet as it travels through the street at night?

Mind you, if they did use electric hearses you know the new location the remains were being moved to would not be very far away, due to the poor range of electric vehicles.

As far fetched as it may seem, someone, somewhere has thought through the logistics of what would need to be done in the event of a Cemetery Relocation. And at a moments notice, a specialised team is ready to swing into action to do what is necessary. Imagine Lifeguards - always on alert in case that emergency call comes through. It would be like that - but without the orange boats.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Not Good.

"Oh yes, they love children........"
I've not been a happy bunny today. In fact, I've been so pissed off with everything that if I was the Easter Bunny, the eggs I would bring would be putrid and rotten. Oh yes, if there ever is an angry Easter Bunny, it's me.

Yet again, the best laid plans at work went down the pan big style.

I was going to tell you the whole sorry tale - but I won't bore you with it. Let me just say that in my opinion, we have not started our relationship with a brand new customer in a very good way. I think that we will look like idiots, and I hate the fact that the preferred option always seems to be to lie to the customer, rather than be honest.

I didn't enjoy my job today. Not one little bit.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Venus Fly Curtain - Nature's Deadliest Soft Furnishing.

So here I am sat in my armchair upstairs, on my laptop, registering on the NHS Blood and Transplant new Blood Donor Online service, when I happen to look at my curtains, and think to myself "you know, I really should wash them at some point".
I haven't washed the curtains since I have moved in, and I don't know how long they have been hanging there unwashed beforehand - so it is a fair bet that they need a wash. They are only thin curtains, of a lovely cream and brown colour. As I looked at them, the fading evening light could still be seen through them (the cream bit).
Suddenly, I noticed a black splodge on the curtain nearest to me. It wasn't on the front of the curtain, so it had to be at the back (the power of deduction eh? Move over Sherlock Holmes). I investigated - by feeling the affected area at the back of my curtain with my finger. Like the house rule at a Spearmint Rhino club, nothing could be felt. Which was odd (and a damn shame if you are in a Spearmint Rhino club!).
I looked again at the front of the curtain, and the black mark could definitely be seen, so then I deduced that the mark must be on the inside of the curtain. I grabbed the affected part of the curtain with my thumb and forefinger and could feel a small lump. I gave the lump a gentle squeeze - and heard the crunch of the tiny exoskeleton under great force. Relatively. The black splodge was in fact the body of a dead fly.

I was nearly sick.

Flies are annoying, but don't mind them too much - but I am funny about touching them. The crunching noise it's tiny corpse made as I squeezed it really turned my stomach. Likewise, I hate it when I accidentally step on a snail and crush it's shell. The noise that makes does me in, I really don't like it. In fact, I'm sure that if you put Cameron Diaz naked sitting on two Million pounds in a room with a floor covered in snails, and told me all I had to do was walk over and get them both if I wanted to - I wouldn't be able to do it. I hate it THAT much.

But I couldn't work out why the fly was dead in the curtains. I couldn't see how it got in - there was no way in at the top, and the only way inside the curtain was from the bottom - but the curtains reach the floor with a bit to spare so are crumpled at the bottom which (I would assume) would make it difficult for a fly to get into.
However, a fly obviously did. It crawled up the inside of the curtain, and then was killed as the curtain slowly crushed it to death and digested its inners.

Well that is the only explanation for how the fly could be dead half way up the inside of my curtains - how do you think it happened?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Birds......and Bees

"Too Much ?"
Birds of Paradise - they have it tough, don't they?

Firstly, they have the most unimaginative name in the world. That must of been a real brain storming session back at camp, the first time a naturalist caught one:
1st Naturalist: "This is a wonderful specimen - but I can't think of a suitable name for it"
2nd Naturalist: "What about 'The Bird of amazing coloured feathers'?"
1st Naturalist: "No - too long-winded."
2nd Naturalist: "Okay - how about 'The show-off Bird'?"
1st Naturalist: "No - that doesn't sound right"
3rd Naturalist (not paying attention to the other two): " You know, I love it here; the Sun, the incredible animals, the lush diversity of plant life - this really is Paradise."
1st & 2nd Naturalists (together): "Say that again....."

Why aren't more birds named via the same system - basically, where they were found? Why aren't Puffins called "Striped Beaked Cliff Birds"? Why aren't Penguins called "Ice Waiter Birds"? and why aren't Albatrosses called "How the hell should I know where it came from - we've been out at sea for six days, and it just showed up this morning!" Bird.
The majority of all other birds have a more exciting name - Eagle, Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk, Vulture etc. It's seems ironic that a bird with such beautiful plumage, should be given the Avian equivalent of the name "Neville". So it's got a rough deal on the name front if you ask me.

And it gets no better on the mating front. In order to find a mate, the Bird of Paradise puts out it's feathers in an incredible display, and does a dance. Check this out:

And after doing all that, it still isn't guaranteed to get a mate. Just imagine being a bloke in a nightclub, and every time a woman looks at you, you immediately start busting your best moves and flashing your most attractive smile. You only stop if she looks or moves away - but have to start again if another woman looks at you. Now imagine having to do that for hours and hours on end - and then imagine if, after all that effort, you still didn't get anywhere. You'd be so depressed! I reckon that there must be some wildlife footage of a Bird of Paradise where he starts his display, but then stops and says:
"Sod this for a game of soldiers - I sweating my arse off here! Look love, are you interested or what? 'cos if you aren't, I'm not wasting my energy. No? - well jog on then."



"Shit! I'm clashing!"

Bees don't have it easy either - which is a shame because they are one of the most happy-go-lucky insects out there. Bees don't buzz by the way - they Hum. Always in a good mood, they go about their business humming a happy tune. Of course, to our untrained ears it just sounds like one continuous buzzing.
Bees have it difficult in two ways: Firstly, they eventually wear their wings out so much that they fall out of the sky and have to spend their last few days crawling on the floor. As is the way of things, Bees never exactly know when this wing failure is going to happen - they are just flying along minding their own business when WHAM! they are spiraling down into a nosedive. Now, given the number of Bees in the world - over 25,000 species, each with millions of Bees - and given the fact that all they pretty much do is leave the hive in search of food, or return to the hive with food, surely there must be mounds of flightless bees milling about just beneath the entrance to their hive having just fallen out of the entrance on their way out, or have their wings fail them on re-entry?

How many Bees got up in the morning and said:
"Right lads - I'm off to get some food. I'll see you back here lat - AAAAAAAARRRRRGH!!!!"

Or how many were merrily returning from a good days food gathering when:
"Oh - there's the hive. Thank goodness - my pollen covered legs are weighing a ton. Never mind, soon be - shit! I'm going down! must...catch....thermal current.......keep.....nose up......dammit! I'm going down, I'm going down......mayday...mayday......."

Or something similar.

All I am saying is that based on the law of averages, this must happen. And anyway, they rarely make it to the wing falling off stage of life anyway, because many die - stinging people as a last resort. Oh yes, Bees don't sting for fun - you're thinking of the wasp. Wasps sting people just because they can; Bees sting people only if they have to. In fact, Bees would rather open a dialogue and talk the problem through, rather than resort to violence. Because they know that they will die as a result. And what is even more unfair is the fact that the recipient of the sting usually has only minor irritation from the sting. Only in cases of Anaphylactic shock, could there be danger. So the Bee stings a much larger creature in self defence and dies - it's only hope being that the "stingee" has a nasty reaction. That's like us being attacked by a blue whale with a taste for human flesh, and at the last moment, smearing our body in Peanut Butter in the hope that the whale has a nut allergy.

I have terrible feeling that I've written this before........definitely a case of "Blogja-vu".

If you have read this before, I apologise.

But not if you are reading this particular blog for the second time - you can't pull the wool over my eyes!!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

My Opinion

In recent days the mood of the nation has nosedived as images and footage of the riots in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham, and Bristol has been shown around the world. I, for one, and sickened and ashamed at what I have seen, heard, and read.
It is clear to anyone with the smallest amount of intellect that the riots, looting, and burning of buildings have nothing whatsoever to do with any protest at all. These thoughtless acts of violence are nothing more than the work of cowardly opportunists who have their own agendas, and who seek to help themselves rather than anyone else. I have no doubt that a many of the individuals involved in all the disturbances were incited to do so by these people (and I use the word in its loosest form). There have been reports of a lot of the rioters being young teenagers - impressionable people, who saw it all as a laugh or a game.
I heard an interview with two teenage girls who were bragging about the rioting, and this sentence confirmed a lot of my suspicions:
"It's the governments fault..........whoever that is. (Conservative) yeah, Conservative"
They blame the government for the state of the country - but couldn't tell you who the government is. They take no interest in who is running this country, and (from their attitude) could likely have been two of the many people who didn't bother to vote at the last Election. They might not be old enough to vote, but there are many people with the same attitude who are eligible to vote and chose not to. Well, I'm sorry - if you don't vote, you don't have a voice. You can't complain about a system that you had no interest in choosing when the opportunity was presented to you.
I also saw a TV clip where a young woman - possibly around 16 - 18 years of age - was saying that the reason people rioted was because they got no respect from the Police, and so they don't respect the police. You earn respect - you don't automatically become entitled to respect just because you exist. And in my opinion, the Police earn their respect by having to face dangerous situations and individuals on a day to day basis that most ordinary people would not want to face. Just as all the emergency services get respect, and I mean emergency services all over the world. One of the most memorable images I've seen of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center was of a fireman making his way up the stair well of one of the buildings while everyone else was running down to get away. They put their lives on the line to save others, knowing that they themselves might die. If someone told you that there was a person in a building that needed your help, but that you might die in trying to help them, how many of us would still go and try and help that person. The emergency services do that, each and every day. THAT earns respect. Paramedics who fight to save someones life - no matter what their sex, colour, religious beliefs, social standing, disability, whatever the person they are treating are. Everyone gets treated the same. THAT earns respect. And the everyday people in the street, the people reading this right now - how do we earn respect? By conducting ourselves in a civilised, and respectful manner. Unfortunately, you have to make the first step - you have to give respect to get respect. I know it's a shit deal, but there's nothing free in this life which is worth having.
It appears that the majority of the young people today have no respect. I know that there are many young people that do have respect and conduct themselves accordingly, but these I fear are the minority.
And where does the blame lie? With the parents? Certainly to a degree - there is a famous phrase "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree", and it is true - children from a very early age are influenced by their parents. As they get older, other influences come along - there are many more influences now than when I was a child - but if the basic lessons of right and wrong are not taught in the home, then the acceptance of their bad behaviour is missing from the child's mind. If no-one cares enough to tell you that what you are doing is wrong, then why should you care? I personally think that the blame also lies with the individual. Young people are far more intelligent and aware than they are given credit for, and so the knowledge of right and wrong is there, but the moral grasp is missing or muted.
There is a lack of responsibility too. As I mentioned today, people know extremely well what their rights are. In fact I believe that "Human Rights" is now used to protect the criminal rather than the victim. That for me, is total nonsense - and I will go as so far as to say that in my opinion, if a person chooses to break the law, then he / she automatically forfeits all human rights. On the TV last night I saw a shop burning down that had been in the owner's family for 5 generations. Where were his Human rights? Today on YouTube, I saw a video of a young man who was bleeding badly, be helped to his feet by a group of youths, who then stole the contents of his rucksack. Where are his human rights? The shopkeepers who found groups people smashing up their livelihoods - where are their Human Rights? There are too many "do-gooders" around, who worry about upsetting the wrong people, while the innocent suffer.

There is clearly a lot wrong in this country, and I do not know how we make it right. I do think that we have been too soft for too long on many aspects of society, and that a clear message should be sent out that those who break the law will have to pay the consequences. We need tougher sentences, higher fines (and if you can't pay a fine, your possessions are taken as payment). People need to know that they are accountable for their actions, and if need be, examples need to be set.

Tonight, London and other cities around the UK are bracing themselves for another possible night of violence. As I type this, it might already be starting. All of this began after the shooting of a man in Tottenham, London last Saturday by police. None of the riots, looting, or arson have anything to do with that incident.


The comments above are purely my opinion. I have not been able to voice them as eloquently as I had hoped. I am aware that just because I have the right to voice them, it doesn't make them right, and I am sure that many people will not agree with some or all of them. Nonetheless, they are my opinion.


I hope the madness we have witnessed over the past few days ends soon, and I hope that all communities can start working together to rebuild today's lives and build better lives for the future.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Erm......

Yet again, I am struggling for ideas as to what to put in my blog. I am also very aware that it is becoming increasingly less enjoyable to read. Well I assume it is - you all might be out there happily devouring every stupid word I write, for all I know. I know that it is becoming harder to write.

The problem is, at the moment, nothing interesting or funny is happening to me. There's lots going on - like the fact that at work we are having to rectify some 24,000 candles that were delivered in such a poor state of labelling, that you would have thought that Stevie Wonder had done it. And when we contact China (not randomly - that is where we get them from) to find out why this has happened, the reason we are given is that the Factory manager was away from the factory because his wife was in Hospital. And this is the reason why thousands of candles weren't labelled properly??? What, the workers were so distressed at the personal problems of their manager, that they couldn't concentrate enough to label correctly? or was it that the moment the manager left the factory, all the workers started messing around like naughty children? Obviously we are seeking some form of compensation, and are getting replacement candles made and shipped. But oh, it makes us mad...........

Or I could tell you how I ordered a t-shirt for myself with a picture of one of the Best Dogs In The World on (one of those photo t-shirts you can get), only to go and collect it today and find that instead of ordering an extra large, I ordered a small by mistake. What is even more pathetic is the fact that I still tried it on when I got home - just on the off chance that me in a really really tight t-shirt with my spare tire bulging at the bottom, might actually be a good look for me. It wasn't.

Or I could tell you how I think I might have over booked myself for the coming Bank Holiday weekend, by planning a Barbecue, inviting my best mate to visit, and promising to catch up with my sister and her family when they pass my way. I don't know how I am going to cover all this, but my options are: A) Best mate comes to visit on Friday, he accompanies me to the catch up with my sister on the Saturday, and then meets my mates at the Barbecue on Sunday, OR B) Mate comes down on Friday, I leave him to host the barbecue (with my mates) on Saturday while I see my Sister, and then I spend all day Sunday apologising, OR C) Mate comes down Friday, him, me, and my mates all go and see my Sister on Saturday, then I have a barbecue by myself on Sunday.
OR F) find out what happened to D) and E).


But like I said, not a lot is going on. Apart from me writing some new stand up material. Oh, and having a surprise visit from Stan and Rosie tonight - which was very very lovely. Oooh  I have also decided on names for my dog(s) when I get them.

Like I said, not a lot happening.

Sorry......

Sunday, 7 August 2011

To Do:

I have a list in my head of things I would like to do at some point. It's not quite a "Bucket List" - as I am not yet anywhere near ready to even comprehend the possibility of dying. Secretly (and now publicly) I hope that by the time my time is up, advancements in medical science will have been made that I can expire when and how I choose.

So at the moment, this list is a simple wish list. And here are some of the items on that list:

1) Live somewhere remote in Scotland. I love Scotland - especially the Highlands and Islands - and would love to live there, but live somewhere remote, away from other people. I don't know why, but the quiet and peacefulness that I have experienced on my visits to the Highlands has really spoken to me. Of course, I would still want my luxuries - broadband, Sky TV etc. but to be away from everyone else would suit me fine.


2) Visit Easter Island. Easter Island lies 2,180 miles West of Chile, and has an area of 63 square miles. It is famous for the 887 "Head" statues that litter it. I've always been fascinated by these statues, and their history (of which I know nothing), and would love to see them first hand. I think it is also the remote location of Easter Island that I like. Is there a pattern forming here?

3) See a World Cup football match in a Stadium. It's a miserable thought, but I will probably only live to see another 10 World Cups. And just once (or more than once if chance allows) I would like to experience a World Cup match live in a Stadium. Just to experience the atmosphere, the noise of the crowd - because it is a totally different experience watching a football game at a stadium or ground, than it is watching it on TV.






4) Go Whale Watching. I have always had a interest in Whales - the life size model of a Blue Whale at the Natural History Museum in London is an incredible sight, and I think that Whale song is one of the most beautiful sounds on this earth. It it the Humpback whale that sings, and I would just love to see them in the ocean in their natural habitat. Of course, time is running out because whaling still goes on so these wonderful animals may not be around for too long.


These things above are some of the things on my wish list. I believe that all of them are tied to me having more money that I currently do - but I am taking steps to increase the money I earn, and to manage the money I have better.

I don't know if I will get to do one, some, or all of these - but I hope I do.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Just Pick Up Where We left Off

It's all coming back to me.

Actually - you're all coming back to me. This year and next I have and will be seeing several people that I haven't seen in a very long time.

Already this year, in May I caught up with a spectacular bunch of people that I hadn't seen in Five years, and it was just so lovely to see them all again.

Then, a few weeks later, I managed to make contact with someone who I lovingly called "mum" for a while, when I was very naive and stupid. I also developed a crush on her a few years later, which rather ruined the whole "mum" thing - but soon got over that. Speaking with her again just made my soul soar.

Only last week, I got back touch with a wonderful woman I used to lodge with, during one the happiest periods of my life. I actually chatted to her on Facebook today, which again was a real joy.

And there there is the most magnificent, spectacular person ever to own a New Zealand accent and the inability to consistently not get the offside rule (in spite of a lengthy explanation over dinner one time at Chili's in Canary Wharf using condiments). We have kept in touch via text on a sporadic basis, but haven't seen each other for about 7 years. However, she is at some point passing my way on her way to Somerset and Wales - and we hope to be able to catch up face to face. It would be really lovely to see her - it's her birthday soon, and I have her card here so seeing her would save me a stamp.

And next year there is going to be a reunion of school friends of mine. It will be 25 years (dear god, really?) since we left school in 1987, so that will be a real blast from the past. I'm really looking forward to it.

In between all of this, I have again made contact with my sort of son/nephew and his mother who I really should have married like we promised each other we would all those years ago. And I expect to get a visit from my very best friend at some point. I only saw him in May, but you can never get enough of your best friend.

And the great thing about all of the above is that with a very large percentage of assurance, I reckon that when I do see again all the lovely lovely people that I haven't clapped eyes on in so long, it will be just like we've never been apart.

It's just going to be one big catch up after another!!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Raising The Bar

I'm a little proud of myself.

Since the middle of July, I have taken up Fitness Walking as my main activity of exercise (apparently, playing on the Wii doesn't count). I needed to do something, because I was becoming severely inactive, and was gaining weight - but I have suffered with Sciatica in the past which has meant that stuff like running is not a viable option.
So one weekend in July I went for a walk along a local track known as the Trailway, from my home town of Sturmnster Newton. The Trailway follows the route of the old Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway, and about four miles along there is the Shillingstone Railway Project - basically the restored former Station at Shillingstone, the next station on from Sturminster Newton. I really enjoyed that walk, and decided to do it again on the following Monday.
On the Monday in question, I set myself a time limit to get from my home to the Shillinstone Railway Project and back again. The time limit was 1 hour and 30 minutes - as that was the cooking time for my tea that night, Jacket Potatoes. I made it there and back in 1hr 29mins 14 seconds - but in doing so, planted a seed in my brain; I wondered how fast I could walk to the Railway Project and back, if I really tried?
Two days later on 13th July, I walked again - but faster this time. I completed the walk in 1hr 24 mins 38 seconds, beating my previous time by 4 minutes and 36 seconds. But glory comes at a price - and the currency is pain. When I walk, I wear walking boots as opposed to Trainers. I would have worn by trainers, but I threw them out after they apparently mated with a dolphin, and started squeaking all the time. And although I had walking boots,  I didn't have walking socks, and developed a horrendous blister on the heel of my left foot. It was so bad, that I would do the walk (sounds like a song title) for another 3 weeks.
By the 1st August my foot was well enough to travel. To be on the safe side, I bought blister plasters, and proper walking socks (£12:99 for one pair - what a rip off!). Having not walked for such a long time, I felt that I was right back at the beginning - but surprised myself by completing the walk in 1hr 23mins 45 seconds - and improvement of 53 seconds. That's almost a minute! Furthermore, my feet were intact.
In case you are wondering, I use a sports tracking application called Edomondo to log the facts and figures of my walks. It is very good, and can be used on a wide variety of sports and activities. There is a mobile App, which is what I use to track my progress. You can see details of all my walks by clicking HERE.

So, I back in the game - and hungry to do better. After a days rest, I back walking on Wednesday 3rd August. I was determined to be faster - and I was! 1 minute and 39 seconds faster actually, with a total time of 1hr 22 mins 6 seconds. I was proud of that, as I did suffer with a number of aches and pains including "Walker's Nipple", Cramp, severe pain in the joint of my right knee, and chafing of the inner thighs by my three quarter length trousers. That walk took an awful lot out of me.
And so, I arrived at today Friday 5th August 2011. The Challenge had been set: walk the 6.75 miles from my house in Bridge Street, Sturminster Newton to the Shillingstone Railway Project and back in less than 1hr 22mins 06 seconds. I had not chosen a good day to try to improve on my time. I had been at work from 6am until 4:40pm, and had had a busy and stressful day. I was feeling tired, and could quite easily have not walked at all.
However, a tiny voice inside me said "it's against the law to eat Midgets". I ignored it, and decided to walk anyway. But not before applying generous quantities of Vaseline to my left nipple, and the inside of both thighs to avoid more chafing/nipple rub. I was as slippery as a politician, I can tell you.
I put on my walking socks, and my walking boots (and my other clothes) and went for it.

It was the hardest walk I have ever done. I kept pushing and pushing myself, urging my aching legs to keep moving me forward. The sweat ran off me in a torrent, I was exhausted, dehydrated - and yet I knew I had to keep going. The Outward journey went great - I knew I was doing well. But the journey back was torture. My mind battled with my body for control of my limbs, and though I tried to keep a good pace, I felt myself slowing. I had no idea as to how long it was taking; I make a point of not checking the elapsed time until I get back home to my starting point.

The last few steps were agony, but as I got to my door, I pressed "stop" on the timer, and checked what it said: 1hr 20mins 24seconds. I had done it - not just done it, smashed my previous best by 1 minute and 42 seconds!!

However, my ecstacy was soon replaced by confusion. The sports tracker records not only time, but distance, elevation, average speed etc. and was saying that I had only walked 6.50 miles, where on Wednesday I had walked 6.68 miles. Is this the reason my time was better? It couldn't be, because I walk the exact same route every single time - if you check out my workouts on the link above, it gives you a map of each walk. You can clearly see they are all the same. So I don't know why it says I walked less - maybe it's the fact that I walked quicker that makes it think I have covered less distance. I haven't. What I have done, I walked the same distance faster than I have ever done before.

So I have set the bar higher - but this time, I really don't know if I can beat it. I put everything into this walk, and had nothing left to give. I now have the weekend to recover, but come Monday I must test myself again.

It's true what they say - no pain, no gain.