Friday, 30 September 2011

A Bleeder - But Not Miserable

As I type this, I am wounded and bleeding.

Actually, that isn't entirely accurate.  I was bleeding a couple of hours ago, so now I am wounded and congealing - or 'scabbing over nicely'. Apologies if you are reading this whilst eating, and watch out for crumbs.

To be honest, I was taken a little by surprise by this wound. In saying that, I don't mean that it suddenly appeared out of nowhere - I wasn't walking along and just happened to look down at my arm and exclaim "Hello.....how did you get there?". What I mean is that the cause of this would was quite innocuous, and came via a combination of a sudden reaching of my bladders 'fill' level, my momentum, a lack of cornering, and Upvc.

It happened at work, which is the place I have been known to be seen occasionally. Well, they said they would pay me to turn up, so I suppose it is a bit of a no-brainer. I was putting the last 63 orders out of a batch of 124 on to the system, and at the same time was waiting for a delivery of acetate boxes for a production run that was required. Our offices are flanked by a garage (the car fixing type, not the Del Boy lock up type), a fuel depot, and what I believe is some sort of vehicle workshop. As a result of this (and possibly a build up of ear wax on my part - well, not on my part, in my ears), it is often difficult to distinguish between the sound of a lorry pulling into our yard, and a lorry in one of the neighbouring establishments. Subsequently, I often spend my time running out to the yard to see if it is us or not, and then running back again, because it wasn't.

Today had been a day when I was rushing back and forth to the yard. I suspect that I did this with a little more frequency than usual because the delivery I was waiting for was urgent. We had asked for an AM delivery so we could rush the items straight to our packing house - as it turned out, the delivery didn't arrive until 1:15pm - which I'm pretty sure doesn't qualify as an AM delivery. Anyway, it was the 7th or 8th time I had rushed out to the yard saying to myself "finally, the delivery is - oh, no it's not." when suddenly I became aware that my bladder had reached critical mass and I was now in a 'code yellow' situation. I was running towards the open door too our offices and was turning sharply to my right round the bench which is situated to the left of our office doors (as you walk out), when my right foot snagged the concrete base the bench was sat upon. Still moving forward with very little loss of velocity, I stumbled - and instinctively put my right arm out to prevent me crashing into the door frame. My arm did it's job, but I scraped it across the frame of the door as I hurtled like a falling satellite into the offices. I stayed on my feet, and as I headed for the loo, I looked at my arm which felt sore, but showed no visible injury. It was only when I got home and looked at my arm again that I saw I had broken the skin and a scab was forming. Well, that's another wound to show the grandchildren - providing I can meet a woman, woo her, get her to sleep with me, have children with her, and wait for those children to grow to such an age when old scars are cool and not gross all before the scab heals and falls off leaving no scar.


In spite of the pain I have endured today, I am in a very good mood. It has been a gloriously lovely day today, and I have been paid. On top of this, I finished early today - but still came home and did all my housework, so that I can chill out for the rest of the weekend. And if all that wasn't enough, it would appear that the problems I have been having with my laptop have gone away. All I get now is a weird message about some file not being found every time I start up my laptop - but it can't be that serious.

So.....it's all good. Even the fact that I went to my local shop to buy a 500ml bottle of Doctor Pepper and was charged £1.10 for it, even though it has the price of 99p printed on the bottle label (a special promotional label) hasn't dampened my spirits. Tomorrow there's rugby on in the morning, and then I am going food shopping but will be picking up the ingredients for my first ever slow cooker meal.

Part of me is tempted to nip out to the pub tonight - but I will ignore that part (it does have a build up of ear wax) and will stay in instead and watch my "Sons of Anarchy" DVD and eat some chocolate!

I hope all of you have a good weekend too - whatever you are doing!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Light Fingered Planet Saving Criminals

I have a confession to make: Since I moved into my humble abode last year, my recycling has dropped off faster than a narcoleptic at a Political Party Conference. This has bothered me (although not that much clearly, as it has taken me 14 months to do anything about it), so I decided to ask the council for some recycling tubs. I rang my local council, and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the tubs would cost me nothing. I was told that delivery would take 6 weeks approximately - I assume because these recycled tubs happen to be made out of a special type of plastic which is only found in old Gary Glitter records, and you know how sales of those have dwindled.

Actually, I don't know if the green recycling tubs supplied for us to put our recycling in are actually recycled or recyclable themselves - wouldn't that be a news story if it turned out that all the recycling tubs in the world couldn't actually be recycled, and were destined to litter the planet long after the human race had expired, ending up as nests for hedgehogs, and sloths. Not in the same area, of course - you only find hedgehogs and sloths close together in Zoos aimed at attracting the easily frightened, where none of the animals make any sudden movements.

Anyway, it has almost two months since I put in a request for some recycling tubs and I still haven't seen them. Now either the council hasn't delivered them yet because they can't find enough copies of "I'm The Leader of The Gang (I am)", or some thieving git has stolen them. I will have to ring the council and check - not check if someone has stolen them, the council won't be able to answer that - and hope that they haven't dispatched them yet. But if it turns out that all the car boot sales in the country were told to hold a "Glitter LP" amnesty, and therefore recycling tub production had gone through the roof, and the council had indeed sent out my tubs, then I don't know what I shall do. Other than ask for some more.

I suppose that I shouldn't be too angry - at least someone is using the recycling tubs . Someone with a mixed up moral code admittedly, who wants to do their bit for the planet - but doesn't mind stealing from his fellow man in the process.
Or are they? What if they are using the tubs for another purpose? Maybe they are using them as massive jelly moulds in an attempt to cater for a large number of children at a young child's birthday party. Maybe they intend to make a scale model of the great wall of china on the beach, using the tubs to get huge 'bricks' with which to build. They might even be sticking two pairs of (equally stolen) roller skates on the bottom of these tubs to fashion a cheap go-kart for their child - who was also stolen from an orphanage and wears stolen clothing.

I'm sure there are many other uses for a recycling tub other than recycling. They could be used for bathing a particularly troublesome midget that usually thrashes about in the bath making a right mess on the lino, or perhaps they have been turned into plant pots and are filled with beautiful flowers - which were stolen from a graveside.

I could hypothesise about this for ever - and believe me, I'm tempted - but the fact remains that I do not have any recycling tubs at this time with which to do my bit. I will endeavor to obtain some more. In the meantime, I'm continuing to not help the planet.


Sorry.


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Find, Laptop, Sausages.

You find me in a good mood. You also find me by standing outside my house and shouting "Oh Laaarrryyy..I've got some chocolate for yooooouuu!!"

But enough about that (I'm home from 5:15pm Monday to Friday, and am at home most weekends by the way).

Actually, scrub all of that. I'm not in a good mood - because my laptop keeps dying on me. It's taken over an hour to type this.

But, it has been glorious today, weather wise, and is going to continue for the rest of the week. On top of this good news is the always welcome news that I get paid on Friday, and you know what that means?

Yup - slow cooker recipes!

When I go shopping this weekend I will be buying the ingredients for my very first home cooked slow cooker meal, and I chosen Sausage Casserole as my first attempt. I haven't had sausage casserole in years - several years in fact - so I am really looking forward to it. My only dilemma is when to cook it: I might actually leave it and cook it on Monday while I am at work. That way, I can have it before I go to Sign Language class. I have been very lucky in that I have been given lots of recipes to try, and have even been given a slow cooker recipe book which I will enjoy looking through and trying. If things work out, I may even start inviting people over for dinner - although I am quite selective (lol!)

And on that note, I'm going to leave you before my computer crashes!!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Boring, Stilts, Embarrassment, and Early

Blimey that was a close one.

I started writing this blog, and then got distracted and did something else. When I came back to my blog, I had a quick read through - and discovered that it was the most boring piece of writing you had ever encountered. I actually thought that telling you about how the display adapter in my laptop was on the way out would make a good topic for my blog.

I wouldn't, it didn't, I won't.

Although just this second, as if to make a point, my screen flickered in a worrying sort of way........

But never mind that (he said, saving his progress), if it turns out that my screen fails before I finish this blog, then so be it. Mind you, if I don't get to publish it, you'll never get  to read it and might just as well think that I simply stopped writing my blog. But if you did that, wouldn't some of you wonder why a man that put the effort in to writing a blog every single day would simply stop out of the blue? Would you wonder if I was dead, or ill, or dead from being ill. Maybe you would think that I had some personal tragedy in my life which had made me think about the frailty of our lives and existence , and subsequently made me realise that wasting time on such frivolous things as Social Networking sites, or writing nonsense everyday, was simply a waste of my time, and therefore I decided to stop.

Or maybe you would just think "Oh, he's stopped writing his blog - what's for tea?"

Incidentally, halfway through that last paragraph my screen failed, and it took 10 minutes for me to get the computer working again. This is not good......

These are Roll Stilts. For some reason, I had a pair of these as a kid. Basically, you stood on them and the held the ropes in each hand and could walk about on them. I don't know why I had them because as I was a tall child (six foot by the age of twelve), I can't understand the need to make myself taller. Now, these may look like harmless little stilts, but let me tell you - they could be deadly. In my experience, what would invariably happen was that due to poor foot positioning, the stilts would topple over. The first problem with this is that you more often than not twisted your ankle as you foot went over, but then as the curved edge of the stilts made contact with the ground, they would roll away from you throwing you backwards to the floor. Mind you, if there is one thing that can take your mind off a twisted ankle, it's a crack on the back of your head.


I had a brief visitor this evening - and that's not someone who pops round to look at your pants -, my good Friend Alyn Williams. He was in the vicinity because he was getting a take away for  his and his pretty-much-wife-but-their-not-married partner, Emma as he had been paid today. He is a man much after my own heart. He popped in to say hello and catch up while his take away was prepared. I always enjoy visitors, but was absolutely mortified when Alyn sat on my sofa and noticed a bit of food lying on the cushion next to him. I was horrified - I am not a total slob, and do tidy my house regularly. On this occasion I had forgotten that I was having any visitors and therefore did not run my hoover round. I would also like to say that did not know that piece of food was there. if I had known, I would have cleared it up - I'm not in the habit of spreading food around my home to act as conversation starters when friend come round. So all in all, I'm very embarrassed.


Guess what I've got coming to work tomorrow? that's right - a forty foot container!! In truth, this one should not be a problem, there not too many different items, a lot of the boxes are large (= takes up more space in the container = the container takes less time to empty), and I've already got the warehouse sorted so every item has a place to go. I am still going in to work early though as I am currently one fifth of the way through entering 124 orders on the system. Before you gasp in admiration and horror, each order is only four lines, so it's not too bad. If I get in for half six, I should get a good number done by the time the container arrives.


Well, I made it to the end of this blog without the comput










just kidding!!!! (I will be getting the Blogger App for my phone incase of system failure)

Monday, 26 September 2011

1st Lesson.

Well it was just like being back at school - me stood alone, everyone laughing at me.

Of course I'm joking - but tonight was like being back at School as it the the first lesson in my British Sign Language Level 1 course. As many of you will know, I have already undertaken and completed an online course in British Sign Language - but if I thought I had some sort of advantage, I was very much mistaken.
There are approximately  20 of us in the class, and we were all sat in a semi circle. It felt a bit like one of those self help groups or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, as we all took turns to introduce ourselves and say why we have enrolled on the course. We were a mixed bunch, slightly more females than males and ages varying from late teens to early fifties.
Our tutor was very good - having been signing for 15 years, she should be! She explained things very well, and after her introduction to the course I knew that there was much I had to learn - even with the online course under my belt (which makes sitting down quite uncomfortable).

In this first lesson we learnt how to sign the letters of the alphabet. As previously mentioned, although I knew how to do this, it was the technique that I discovered I had been lacking in. For example, to finger spell the letter "Y", you hold your non dominant hand flat (your left hand if you are right handed and vice versa) palm side down with fingers held flat, and you place  the index finger of your dominant hand on the piece of skin between the thumb and index finger on the hand that is flat. However, if like me you have been holding your non dominant hand with only the index finger extended, you will in fact be making the sign for "Y-fronts".

So, every time I thought I had been finger spelling my name, I was in fact finger spelling "L-A-R-R-Yfronts"

But not anymore.

Next we went through how to ask someone's name and how to tell someone your name. Again, I had done this on my online course, but when it came to watching someone finger spell their name and then trying to read what they are spelling, I found it really difficult.

We got homework - to practice and perfect the finger spelling alphabet. Even though I know it, I will improve on my technique.

And that was lesson 1 - already I really enjoy this course, and I know it is going to be really good. In January we will have an assessment - and that means having a 4 minute sign language with an assessor who is deaf.

O....M.....G!!!

Bring on next week!!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Gorgeous, Gorgeous, Gorgeous.........and Woo Hoo!

There is only word that adequately describes my evening last night: Gorgeous.

I was invited to dinner by two exceptionally lovely people, in my  old stomping ground of Okeford Fitzpaine, and as if that wasn't enough it was going to meet their new baby girl, Fern.

Now I am a great big hairy bloke who swears, and watches horror films, and scratches myself in inappropriate areas when the need arises - but my I lost my heart to two week old little Fern Williams. She is absolutely perfect, and although I nearly soiled myself in terror when Fern was given to me to hold by her mum (she does know how clumsy I am), when she was is my arms I am not afraid to admit that I got very, very broody. I really should have a child you know -  but need to find a woman to be with first. But Fern is such a little cutie, she really is lovely. I knew my friends were clever, but  I didn't know they were that clever.

So what a great way to start the evening. And it only got better. The meal they had prepared was a Vietnamese dish of rice and chicken but with all sorts of other stuff added in, including chilli's and limes and all sorts. It was really delicious, even in the chilli's were super hot. I only ate one.

I stayed with my friends for about four hours, and I must say it was the loveliest evening I have had in a long time. You know those friends you have who love you even though they know you are a numpty, in fact they love you because you are a numpty - these are friends like that. I feel it's a bit of a one way street because I could never put on an evening at my place which was a lovely as the one they did last night. I will try to, but I know it won't be as good.

I must be quick, because the video card on my laptop is on its way out and if it goes I won't be able to see to type.

Basically, I had the best night ever with my friends. Their daughter is gorgeous, the food was gorgeous, and they are gorgeous. Words cannot express how much they mean to me.


Tomorrow, I start my sign language course - and I am sooooo looking forward to it. It is going to be really good (I hope) and I am going to learn loads.

From now on for the next 25 weeks my Monday blog will be later than usual as I will do it when I get back home from my Sign Language course. Tomorrow, I will tell you how my first lesson went.


Provided my laptop doesn't fail me of course.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

A Lovely Meal and Car Amnesia Sandwich

Today has been a good day, and it's not over yet.

Having awoken this morning a little worse for wear after a great night in the pub last night with Steve and Sam (where we discovered that technology has brought the world purpose bult Jaegerbomb glasses), I had breakfast and nipped out to buy some flowers.

The flowers were for my ex's mother who was cooking me lunch. I was going over there to collect my car which I had lent to her partner Peter a few weeks ago when his car had to be repaired. So I was doing a good deed by giving the flowers as a thank you in response to receiving the meal which in itself was a thank you from them for the good deed I did by lending my car to them - even though they had already said thank you by buying me a slow cooker.

So, I go over there have a lovely meal and a catch up, and then drive home. I had to get some shopping, so instead of driving all the way home, I drove to my local Co-Op which is about 5 minutes walk from home. I do my shopping - and then WALK home. You see, the trouble with lending your car for a long time is that you get so used to being without it that when you do get it back, you forget that you have it. I only remembered that I had the car when I got home, so had to walk back to the Co-Op and drive my car home.

Numpty!

Inferior Mother Theresa - sorry, I mean Nonetheless, I was still in a good mood - so much so that I thought up a  really funny (in my opinion) joke. You can decide for yourself how funny it is:

I was really shocked when my sister told me that her beloved cat had died, and that they were going to bury it in quick drying cement. It still hasn't sunk in......

I think it's genius, I really do.


And I am still in a good mood because I am off out tonight for dinner with two of my favourite People. This is going to be an especially lovely evening because I get to meet the new baby daughter for the first time.

So, I'd better go and have a shave and a shower and make myself presentable.

Hope your day has been as good as mine!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Statement of Intent

For anyone who was ever in any doubt, this is how things are:

I will:

Love unconditionally - if a relationship ends badly (i.e. I get dumped) I will continue to love that person until I find someone else to love. If a relationship ends amicably (i.e. I get dumped, but can understand their reasons) I will continue to love that person, and be there for that person in any capacity they need until such time as they do not need me to be.

I will not:

Look for someone else the moment my relationship ends - for to do so makes a mockery of the relationship I just had. You don't love someone until they hurt you, you go on loving them even if they hurt you until you learn to live with the hurt and move on. If your first thought after a relationship ends is "right, better find me someone else" (and by after a relationship ends I mean within the next few hours or days), then you cannot say that you loved the person you were with. If you can move on that quickly, then you were never in Love.  Love isn't a light switch - you can't just turn it off.

If anything, Love is a dimmer switch - it doesn't go immediately, but gradually fades.

Or a dodgy torch. Same thing.


I will:

Do good things for others without agenda or motive. I will lend my car when I can to anybody that needs it. My door will always be open to anyone in trouble who needs sanctuary or just someone to talk to. I will go through my entire joke repertoire in it's entirety in order to put a smile on the face of those I care about who are upset. I will offer to help little old ladies cross the road, help small people reach things in high places, makes jokes to help pass the time in those depressing doctors waiting rooms. I will at random tell members of my family and friends how lovely and wonderful they are purely on the off chance that at the moment they hear it or read it (posted on facebook), they might need to know it.


I will not:

Get it right 99.999% of the time. I make mistakes, and there are a multitude of more talented, kinder, better looking, and generally better people out there than me. I will be selfish, cruel, arrogant, rude, thoughtless and stupid with more regularity than a man who eats nothing but high fibre, prunes, and laxatives all day.


This is not:

Me saying how great I am.

Me fishing for compliments.


This is:

A statement of intent.

A declaration of the expectations I have of how I should be.

A blueprint for who I am.




Like a DJ with OCD, I just needed to set the record straight. And now I need chocolate.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Oh Kevin - Where Are Your Friends?

Today I saw my first Crane Fly, or "Daddy Long Legs" of the year. Considering that it is almost October, and already noticeably less warm than it was in the Summer (you remember the Summer - that 4 hour period we had between June and July), I find it very odd that up until now I haven't seen any others.
Usually, there are thousands of these little flying bugs to be seen throughout the warm summer......minutes. At night they come into your home, hypnotised by your energy saving light bulbs, and flit around you in a seemingly drunken state, bashing into everything.
But not this year - like I said, the little chap I saw today at work was the first one I had met this year. So where are all his friends? Why are they not around?

Has he been left behind by mistake like the kid in "Home Alone"? Did he have an argument with the other six billion members of his family the night before their big holiday, and get complete forgotten about? Are there several Billion Crane Flies all sat together somewhere nice chatting away together, who are all about the have the same realisation and look up as one and cry "KEVIN!!!" Will Kevin the Crane Fly then have to spend the next few days alone in his nest/hive/hole (delete where necessary) outwitting a pair of burglar insects - a small fat one, and a tall skinny one (a dung beetle and a stick insect perhaps?) - whilst making wise cracks, and looking precocious?

I don't know.

Maybe he was meant to meet up with all his friends but got delayed and missed the rendezvous time? Maybe he got there as fast as he could only to find a note which read:

"Kevin - where were you? we said meet us here at 10am. We waited and waited for you, but you didn't show up so we have had to go without you. We're sorry, but it's not like you didn't know.......good luck with the Winter.

The Gang"


Perhaps Kevin hasn't been abandoned, perhaps he is the only survivor of a Crane Fly massacre that saw every other Crane Fly brutally killed by some sort of Crane Fly eating.....thing.

Here's an even scarier thought: Maybe Kevin killed all the other Crane Flies after eventually snapping mentally following years of being called "Daddy Long Legs" (even though it is just another name and not an insult as Kevin thought).


Or.......


I just haven't noticed any Crane Flies this year.

Yeah, that must be it.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Uncomfortableness of a Good Meal

I'm not the world's greatest cook (yet), but the few things that I know how to cook, I cook very well. One of these things that I cook well is Spaghetti Bolognese. The trouble is, I'm not very good at judging portion sizes. As a result, I end up cooking a meal large enough for two people or more. In addition to this, I never consider saving half of the over sized meal I've made for another meal later in the week - I always eat the whole lot. Furthermore, over the last few weeks I have been eating less during the day, and subsequently my stomach has shrunk (to a degree).

Basically, I stuffed myself so full with my dinner tonight that my stomach hurts because it is so full.

But it was very lovely.........

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Save Your Brain - Re-Decorate!

I have has an epiphany whilst in the bathroom.

And yes, I did wash my hands.

This epiphany - or realisation if you will - came to me a split second after I had realised that I had yet again forgotten to put my eye drops in last night. Brief re-cap: The pressure in my eyes is too high, so I have to put eye drops in every night for about three weeks. My eye drops sit in my bathroom in plain view, and yet I regularly forget to put them in. Every night, before I go to bed I brush my teeth, answer the call of nature, and should put my eye drops in - but I only seem to manage the first two.

So I was thinking of ways to help me remember (other than actually pulling myself together and thinking for a change) to do this task, when it hit me:

Dry-wipe wall paper.

You know you can get those dry-wipe boards for writing memo's on? They have them in offices, and use them in meetings etc. Well why not invent the same thing but as wallpaper? That way, you could write whatever you needed to write on there and then once you no longer need to remember the thing, just wipe it off.

I know we already have notepads and memo boards etc. but these are usually fixed in one place and can be overlooked and missed. If you had dry-wipe wallpaper wherever you needed it, you would never forget a thing. Think if the advantages:

In the kitchen:
  • Write a list of things to remember to buy (you can then take a picture of this list with you camera phone and save having to carry a shopping list with you in the supermarket).
  • Leave details of where a loved ones dinner is (in the fridge / oven / dog) in the event that you are not home when they are.
  • Leave instructions on how to use the cooker / dishwasher / washing machine - useful for training teenagers
In the bathroom:
  • Leave a reminder to take medicine / put the toilet seat down / clean up the urine that missed the toilet and landed around the toilet (useful for boys/men)
In a child's bedroom:
  • Write their school timetable on the wall so every day when they wake up they can see at a glance what lessons they have
  • Write the word "HOMEWORK" in six foot letters across their walls in an attempt to get them to do it earlier than the morning it is due
  • Similar to the above, write the words "DON'T DO THAT - DIRTY BOY" in your son's bedroom in attempt to prevent him going blind/getting hairy palms.
  • Similar to the above, write the words "HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW HIM? IS HE CLEAN? CONDOM??" in your daughter's bedroom in an attempt to avoid becoming a grandmother way too early for your liking.
If you have small children:
  • They can draw pictures and colour them in, aiding their learning process - and you know you know that you can wipe it away if you have visitors coming. Plus they can entertain themselves if you are busy watching telly or having a cigarette.
  • Draw a height chart so that they can see themselves grow
In General:
  • Leave love notes for your other half
  • Leave love notes for your imaginary other half if you are single
  • Draw your family tree
  • Write a story, with each chapter being in a different room.
  • Write a limerick, if you live in a bedsit

The possibilities are almost endless - and you are saving valuable memory space in your brain because you don't have to remember as much stuff.

I think this is the future - it will make us more efficient, and allow us to use our brains for their intended purpose.

Don't ask me what that purpose is, how am I supposed to know when I've got so much stuff to remember?


Monday, 19 September 2011

Depessed Apple.......and The Grill Pan That Time Forgot

I don't know if you can be punished for neglecting fruit - but if you can, I'm for the chop.

In trying to be a little healthy (he typed, as his pizza cooked in the oven) I take fruit with me to work. My fruit of choice is a Banana and an Apple, as I have no imagination when it comes to fruit. If I did, I would feast on Lychee and Kumquat every day instead.
I buy six apples and 10 bananas every week, and have two bananas (one with breakfast and one later in the day) and one apple a day. At least, that is the plan. As it turned out, I ended up last week with no bananas, and only one apple. Every day I packed that apple in with my sachet of cup-a-soup and two slices of crispbread with the full intention of eating it at some point during the day. And every day, when I got home from work and emptied my back pack, there would be the apple staring up at me from the bottom of my back pack, saying "what happened? I thought you were going to eat me?". "I'm sorry", I would reply, and explain how I got called into a meeting, or how a delivery turned up and I completely forgot about having that apple.
This went on every day last week - every morning I would see that apple in the bottom of my back pack, and I would think to myself, 'I'm going to eat that apple today'. And every night, I would find still sitting there, and I would think, 'oh! the apple! I meant to eat that today'.
And I did it again today. The poor little apple is so depressed, that when I promised it tonight that I would definitely eat it tomorrow, it just turned its back on me and said "whatever.....".


Here's a top tip if you have one of those oven with a built in grill: If you are going to turn the oven on to heat it up in preparation of cooking, ensure that the grill pan you used to grill Sausages the day before is taken out and washed beforehand.
It really is quite surprising how black and acrid the smoke from Sausage fat can be.

Tomorrow's tip will be why cheese stays incredibly hot for so long after grilling, and ways to treat blisters on the roof of your mouth.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Good - no reason

It's been a mixed bag of a weekend this weekend. So far the following has occured:

Having my ego massaged ever so slightly.

Watching Arsenal throw away another football game.

Won some money on the lottery

Spent time with some friends

Made some decisions about my life

And now, here I am on Sunday night having just cooked a very nice Sausage and Mash for dinner. I am am looking forward to watching the new series of "Downton Abbey" tonight. I'm feeling very content at the moment - I've been fed, I'm warm, and I am happy. I'm back to work tomorrow, and am looking forward to it.

Nothing major has happened this weekend, and yet I feel nicely content.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Change.

This is a short one, cos I've only got one thing to say.

For a too long now, I've been giving people the wrong impression about me. I'm always putting myself down and cracking jokes about how I fail at various things. As a result, people aren't me taking me seriously.

Well, no more. No more putting myself down, and no more jokes about how crap I am because I'm not.

For too long I've been waiting for life to give me what I want. That's never going to happen.

I'm going to go get what I want from life.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Inescapable Tractor Beam of Accountancy Software, and Other Adventures

It's been a busy day today. Again.

I was in work at 6:30 this morning to finish off entering those orders onto SAGE, the software we use to record orders and invoices and manage stock etc. Yet again it took me an hour and a half to enter 22 orders - which either means that at that time of the morning, I am really slow or that I am just really slow. I was relieved to get that done as entering orders onto SAGE can be tedious and annoying due to the little quirks built into the the program.

At 9am we had a meeting to cover what was coming in, what orders were going out, and what needed to be done to facilitate the timely of dispatch of forthcoming orders. During the course of every meeting, each of us are given relevant tasks to complete in line with our responsibilities within the company. A couple of tasks given to me were to contact a couple of customers and book orders in for delivery, and update the delivery details on SAGE.

Being a Friday, my boss and his partner finish early and head off to Southampton where they stay for the weekend (they have a boat). The SAGE computer software is only installed on my boss's partners computer, which she had turned off before she left so after booking in the orders as requested, I logged onto to her computer, accessed SAGE, and entered the details. Once done, I backed up SAGE (updated the back up files with the amended information added) and turned off the computer.

About 5 minutes later I realised that I had booked on order in for the wrong date, so I contacted the customer, changed the booking and then had to turn the computer back on, update the details, back up the system, and turn off the computer.

10 minutes passed and we received two new orders. I went back to the computer, turned it on, accessed SAGE, put on the new orders, backed up SAGE, and turned off the computer.

Then another new order from a different customer is emailed across. Back to the computer, SAGE, order on, back up, turn computer off.

Just to be different, a few minutes later ANOTHER order from another customer appears. Computer, SAGE, back up, off.

I felt like I couldn't get away from the damn computer and that damned SAGE software.  It was like I was tied to it by a piece of elastic!

I hung around at work until 2:45 and then buggered of home. I was offered a lift, but as the sun was shining, I declined and walked. I stopped off at Co-Op to get some provisions, and when I was in the queue, I noticed the lady behind me had less items than me, so I offered to let her go first (I'm nice like that. Actually, I'm nice in many ways - for all the good it does me.). She took this as a request for a random conversation. Now, whilst I will admit that I often start talking to people randomly when I am out - and by randomly I mean sometimes I do and sometimes I don't, I don't mean that when I talk I say stuff like "radiator, pineapple, bi-plane, fish-light bulb hybrid" - but that doesn't mean I like it when people do it to me. However, being a polite chap I indulged this freak woman.

She was quite short - about 5ft 1, and wasn't the most attractive or effeminate female I've ever met. She had a weird hairstyle which was like shoulder length hair, but with the hair from one side of her head pushed up and over the top of her head. Like I said, the conversation was quite random. All of a sudden she said to me
"I met a bloke who was smaller than I was the other day - that was weird"

Before I knew what was happening, I just blurted out "you sure it wasn't a child?", and was instantly shocked by the rudeness of that statement. Luckily, she wasn't offended but didn't help matters when she replied
"no, it was definitely a man - he made me feel quite butch"

I had to bite my lip to stop myself from saying "what - more butch than usual?".

Thankfully, she got served and went on her way.

So got home and found that either the mice were practicing fen shui on my kitchen appliances, or the handy man had been in to service my boiler. My toaster and kettle were not in their usual places. I assumed it was the boiler man, as I don't have mice. I hope.
However, my happiness that my boiler had been serviced was short lived as I discovered that I had no hot water. My hot water comes on by demand - when I turn on the hot tap of use the shower, not by me shouting out loud "Hot water now!" - and I here the boiler kick in at the appropriate time. But it wasn't happening. I rang the man (Terry) and told him of my problem - not that one, the problem with the boiler. Terry asked me to check if he had left the Gas off in the meter box outside. I did this, and he hadn't. So Terry said that he would come back tonight and sort out whatever he had left off or wrong with my boiler.

So here I am, waiting for Terry the boiler man to come and do his stuff. It's 8pm (almost) and I hope he gets here soon, as I don't fancy a cold shower tonight.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Bleary, Eerie, Cheery, Weary

As predicted yesterday, today was a long day.

It started for me at 4:30am, when my alarm went off. Surprisingly, I jumped straight out of bed and switched it off - usually I just bury my head under the duvet and try to ignore it. However, this morning the knowledge that I had a lot to do at work today made me get out of bed. Sadly, the knowledge that I only lived five minutes walk from work managed to convince me that I could afford to go back to bed for a few minutes.
This was a dangerous strategy, as I had not snoozed my alarm, I had switched it off. The moment I got back into bed the mattress, pillows and all the bedding switched into "Ultra warm and comfy" mode, and I felt like I was sinking into it's lovely comfortableness. Fortunately for me, the knowledge that I had a lot of work to do today was still there - and was annoyed at being ignored first time round. It unceremoniously poked me in the bladder, which instantly made me feel the need to pee and therefore exit the bed. That was it; I was up.

Breakfast was a watery milky affair: I didn't have enough milk for my three Weetabix, so had to top it up with milk. Although not as enjoyable as Weetabix and just milk, I ate it all the same. I felt like death warmed up - which when you think about it, is probably the worst metaphor going. Generally I believe, that anything "warmed up" is an improvement - soup, hot water bottles, summer to name a few, and as Death is a cold dark place, warming it up sounds like a great idea. Nonetheless, I felt rubbish. I was half awake, and only my core functions were being operated - breathing and movement. Thinking was like the most unpopular soup in a restaurant - it wasn't even on the menu. However, I knew I had to get to work, and so I somehow shuffled out of the door.

The world is a very different place at 5:00am. It was quiet and still - and freezing this morning. A mist hung in the air, and the only sounds were the far off calls of owls and foxes. It could have been badgers, I'm not sure. I didn't pass a single soul on my walk to work, and yet felt strangely uneasy. The quietness, and the dark that enveloped me made me feel........like I was in a big dark envelope in the library, and if you've ever been in one of those, you know how unnerving it can be. When I got to work, the creaking of the metal gates to our yard sounded magnified in the stillness of the early morning. I half expected to hear a voice from the nearby estate shout out and tell me to be quiet, but no-one did.

I got into the office, and made myself a coffee and started my first job of the day - entering 43 orders on the system. All of these orders were for the same customer, but for a different location. The quantities were often the same, but not enough to allow me the luxury of not checking. At first, my fingers struggled to get up to the same speed my brain was at (it's marvellous what a cup of coffee can do), but soon I was in full swing. We had a container due in at 8am, and I knew that I would need to get some pallets into place ready for it, and move other pallets out of the way to make space so I gave myself a deadline of 7am to stop entering orders and start preparing for the container. At 7am  checked how many orders I had put on - 22. My heart sank as I realised that I had only done half of what I had hoped. I would just have to finish off later.

The container arrived on time (a nice change), and we rattled through it in three hours. But no sooner had it left, when a lorry arrived to collect 19 pallets for delivery to one of our customers. I had to explain to the lorry driver that the goods were not ready - I had asked for a collection at 4pm, but what do I know? - and that he would have to come back. That suggestion went down like a leaking bouncy castle, and the driver (after a brief conversation with his office) said that he had been told to collect what was ready now. So I then spent the next thirty minutes rushing around moving pallets, wrapping pallets, labelling pallets, and then loaded the lorry. I beginning to flag  I hadn't stopped since 5:10 am when I got into work, and it was now 11:45am.

With the lorry dispatched, I stumbled to my office and flopped in my chair. My boss and his partner had gone to lunch, so I was able to have a break. Suddenly, I remembered that I had bought a lottery ticket for the previous nights draw - I did a "Hotpick", and had chosen two numbers. If they came in, I would win £40. Well, paint my face orange and call me a satsuma - they only came in!! I had won £40 - and not a moment too soon. I was running out of cash, and still had two weeks until payday. That put a smile back on my face, and - like a man who has eaten two curries - gave me a second wind.

The rest of my day was busy. I picked another order, helped our QC manager do some QC, did more data entry - although not more order entering, that will be done tomorrow morning - and was generally a busy little bee. Which makes a change, because usually I have the habit of being lazy. But busy is good.

And so here I am, waerily sat at home with aching feet and legs. A nice shower before bed will help me relax, although I won't have any trouble sleeping tonight. And tomorrow is Friday, and that is always a good thing.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Early, Slow, Stress - Tea.

Like an insistent pair of underpants, I must be brief.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day, with an early start for me, and plenty of trouble to try and sort out.

I'm going into work early tomorrow because A) I have 43 orders for one customer to manually enter onto our system, and B) we have a 40ft container due in at 8am. I plan to start work at 6am - but may come in earlier, as my typing speed is slow. I will also need to prepare for the container - move pallets etc. Of course there is the chance that the container will get here early, in which case my being there will allow me to make a start on it and therefore get it finished sooner.

So, it's an early night for me tonight.

And that is basically it - I'm a bit stressed because there are problems with our packing house which will affect orders due to go out next week and subsequently will strain even further our relationship with one of our biggest customers.

But there is nothing I can do about that now, so it's stress hat off, chilled hat on - and time for a cup of tea.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Why Water Proof Coats Are A Double Edged Sword........and Secret Military Laser Guided Rain Drops

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart - but the very next day, you gave it away.

So sung George Michael, aka Georgio Nikopokolopodopadopolous (or something like that). But he was wrong, because last Christmas I got a lovely new waterproof coat, which instantly over took my "big coat" as my outer wear of choice for inclement weather. It was lighter, made me less hot, and was waterproof - the exact opposite of "big coat" which was very heavy, not waterproof, and made me so hot that if I was wearing it walking in the rain I would eventually become as soaked through sweat as I was through rain.

So, I had a new coat and I wore it everywhere. Recently I had noticed that my coat was in need of a good clean. I checked the label, and it said "cool, wash" - so I said "sweet" and did so. It was only when the coat was half way through being washed that the concept of me wasting my time entered my head. If my coat is waterproof, won't that limit the cleansing effect the water in the washing machine would have? I had visions of my coat tumbling around in the washing machine saying to itself "well, this is having no affect whatsoever" as the dirt that had found its way onto it just stayed where it was and enjoyed the ride like it on some sort of roller coaster.

Anyway, I washed my coat and hung it out to dry this morning on my way to work. Not on my way to work you understand - I didn't leave it hanging from a lamp post or draped over a bin - I meant before I left for work.

Yes I know that is what I should have put then.

Smart arse.

Moving swiftly on.....I hung my coat out to dry this morning, and would you believe it? it rained today. I nipped home at lunchtime (in the rain, without my coat) and my coat was hanging there looking all dejected. Or was it? I was about to get fed up because my clean coat was getting dirty and wet, when a familiar, yet slightly different thought entered my head. My coat is waterproof, and therefore discards water like a lottery winner discards his friends. It didn't matter that it was raining, I wasn't worried - it was like water off a waterproof coat wearing duck's back!

In due course, it stopped raining and we had good spells of sunshine in the afternoon. When I got home from work tonight, my coat was dry and happy to see me. I will admit that in some instances, the waterproofness of the coat could be a concern but overall, like a seesaw with heavy set prostitutes on one end and skinny prisoners on the other, the pros outweigh the cons.

I have a sever case of "Blog De Ja Vu" when it comes to this next bit, but cannot find any evidence to back it up.


Consider this: The lowest clouds in the sky form at approximately 2000ft up from the ground. So a rain drop falls at least 2000ft before it hits, yes? Furthermore, during that fall the raindrop is subject to the force of wind which will blow it around, alter its course, or even disintegrate it.
Now consider the fact that when we walk, we never walk the same route in exactly the same way twice. Our pace varies, our direction changes in response to our surroundings, we may stop at any moment. It is impossible to predict exactly how someone will walk.
Finally, understand that when I wear my glasses, the gap between the frame at the top of my glasses and my skin is about 3 - 5 mm, but this varies as  my body moves when I walk.

So, we have the minimum distance a raindrop falls, and the movement it undergoes during that fall as a result of wind etc. We also have the constantly varying movement of a person when they walk - no two walk are exactly the same. Finally we have tiny gap between the frame of glasses and the glasses wearer.

So how is it, when you take all these things into consideration that a single raindrop can fall from the sky 2000ft above me, get blown by the wind miles off course perhaps, and yet still end up sailing straight through the gap in between my glasses and my face and hit me smack in the eye!!!???
Those laser guided missiles the military have, are nothing compared the accuracy of those raindrops!!

It's happened more than once....and it bugs me.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Numpty-Dextrous!

Well, I don't know what is going on.

You know they say that the right side of your body is controlled by the left side of your brain, and vice versa? Well I am left handed, which would indicate to me that the right side of my brain is the more dominant. However, the more I think about it, the less convinced I am. Working from my head down to my toes, I find a definite lack of consistency........allow me to explain:

The single eyebrow raise. I can do this, no problem with my left eyebrow, but find it virtually impossible to do with my right eyebrow. To get the slightest movement from my right eyebrow takes immense concentration - which ends up with me having a weird vacant expression on my face (not the usual weird vacant expression you have all come to know and love, a different one). I've tried cheating by raising both eyebrows and then just lowering the left one, but I have to shut my left eye in order to get anywhere near the right effect - and the whole point is being able to raise my right eyebrow without any other changes to my face.

Arm strength. All of us has one arm which is stronger than the other. This is especially true if you are an amputee. My stronger arm is my right arm (insert smutty explanation here), even though I am left handed and use my left arm more, as it is connected to my left "busy" hand.

Dexterity. Although I am left handed, I have more dexterity in my right hand than in my left (copy and paste smutty explanation from above here). Do this test: hold both your hands flat above a flat surface - a table, a kitchen worktop, a book, anything will do. Now tap your fingers (whilst keeping them and your hand flat) as fast as you can on the surface. When I do it, my right hand is much faster than my left hand. There is just so much more fluidity of movement in my right hand than in my left, and trying to make my the fingers on my left hand tap faster is a real effort.

Goalkeeping Ability. Believe it or not, I'm quite tasty between the sticks - and if that doesn't sound like an innuendo, I'll give you one. I used to play football, or soccer (pronounced "so-cherr" by American sports commentators) in my youth - both five-a-side and eleven-a-side. My team mates told me I was a  shot stopper - I think so anyway, they wrote that in a letter and I'm not sure if the "o" in shot is actually an "i", the handwriting was terrible. Anyway, for some reason I have always found it easier to dive to my right than to my left, I just had some sort of mental block when I came to diving to my left. Diving to my right - I could do it all day, standing on my head. Actually, that's not true - but you know what I mean.

Sports. Depending on what sport I'm playing, I hold the equipment with a different hand. For example: Cricket - when batting I stand like a right handed batsmen, but when bowling, I bowl with my left hand. Tennis, squash, badminton, table tennis etc. I hold the raquet in my left hand. Darts (it's a sport!) - I hold the darts in my left hand. Snooker - I hold the cue in my right hand. Baseball - right hand. Basketball - control the ball with my left hand. American football (pronounced "rugby for poofs" in England) - I throw the ball with my left hand. Rugby - I find it easier to pass to my left (the power coming from my right hand), than I do to the left.

Feet. I am left footed, and can do wonders with a ball on my old left peg. My right foot is like an epileptic hexagon with a mind of its own.


So as you can see, there is not set rule with me when it comes to which side of my body is strongest or more agile etc. so I don't know which side of my brain is in control. In all honesty, I doubt if either side is - instead they are both unaware of the other half's existence and just sit there going "huh? what?...zzzz.....zzzzz....zzz"

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Folically and mentally Challenged

You know those times when your brain tells you something is a good idea, but it actually isn't? - I had one of those this weekend.

As anyone who knows me will confirm, I don't have much hair. I have a receding hairline, and a bald spot on the crown of my head. At the moment, where my fringe used to be (many moons ago) there is now a hair "peninsula" - and this in due time will be come a island of hair towards the front of the top of my head.
But that won't happen for a while. In the meantime, I like to keep my hair short, because it looks better. If I let it get too long, I end up with "panda ears"  - clumps of hair that stick up like, well like panda ears.
So yesterday I decided to clipper my hair. I have my own set of clippers, and have been doing my hair for a long time now. I have a system set up, which involves me naked from the waist up, kneeling over my rubbish bin in my kitchen with a hand mirror in one had, and the clippers in the other. Not surprisingly, the whole process takes very little time. I have the clippers set on their closest setting - a grade "0" I believe - without guards or anything.

The plan yesterday was to clipper my hair, then have a shave, and then a shower. The clipping complete, I started to shave. However I noticed that I had missed a few rogue strands of hair just above my temple. For a moment I thought about having to get the clippers out again (having just put them away), and going over my entire head to root out any hairs that had survived the original clipping. I only thought that for a moment, before a much better idea (or so it seemed) pushed that thought out of the way and presented itself to me in all its glory:

Why not use my wet shave razor to remove the rogue hairs from my temple?

Before I had even had a chance to think this through, my brain sent an electrical impulse to the muscles in my left arm and hand, and they picked up the razor and scythed downwards across my template, obliterating those hairs that had dared to defy me and my clippers. A job well done, my brain thought. And then it saw my head.

True, the few hairs that had bravely stood in defiance were gone. However, so was the surrounding area of clipped  hair. Like thousands of buffalo cutting a huge swathe through the American mid-west in the 1800's, there was now a patch on my head where nothing grew. A patch the width of a Gillette Mac 3 disposable razor, and about 4 inches down.

Bugger.

My arm and hand dropped the razor like it was red hot and just hung by my side limply, like a guilty child that has been caught in the act. I looked at the patch in my hair, and I knew what this meant. it meant that not only did I now have to wet shave my entire head, but it also meant that I really should make an appointment to have the "that's a good idea" area of my brain removed as soon as possible.

I don't know if you have ever had to wet shave your entire head before, but if not let me tell you - it's not that easy.
Firstly, you are shaving a part of your body that isn't used to being shaved. The skin wherever you regularly shave (faces for men, legs and armpits for women) over time becomes used to being shaved and gets less irritated by the shaving. My head was not one of these places, so I could only get a couple of passes with the razor in before it started to irritate and hurt.
Secondly, the contours of your head are different to the contours of the areas that you normally shave. I could shave myself with my eyes shut in terms of knowing the contours of my face and how much pressure to apply, but on my head, I kept nicking my self which only added to the irritation and pain.
Thirdly, you have to go over it several times to be sure that you haven't missed any spots. When I shave my face, I'm looking in the mirror so I can see what I am doing. No such luxury when it comes to the top of my head.

But I had no choice, so I got on with it. Several minutes, and half a can of shaving gel later, I was finished. I hopped into the shower, and cursed loudly and the hot water stung every cut and nick on my scalp. Luckily, I had done a good enough job, and no further treatment was required.

It's a weird feeling, being completely devoid of hair. My scalp felt very hot (cos most of the heat we lose goes out through our head), and yet clammy at the same time. I kept feeling it with my hand throughout the rest of the day.
And already, one day later the hair is growing back. My head feels like it is made of really fine grain sandpaper - which is ironic when you consider that there is nothing by sawdust inside it.

So take my advice - if you think something is a good idea, just stop and think about the consequences before you act.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Engineer Symbolism?


This is a picture of my kettle. You already know that, having the ability to recognise items. And yet I still felt the need to tell you what you already know.
My Kettle sits directly beneath my boiler (bear with me - this will become relevant later), which is where I have always positioned it. I have very little interaction with my kettle, except when I fill it up, or use it. So imagine my surprise, when I saw this on the on/off switch:


I have had to magnify the picture to show you properly. Someone has drawn a "Smiley Face" on the on/off switch on my Kettle. As I live by myself, and don't often have visitors, I am somewhat at a loss as to how this smile got on to my kettle. I know that it doesn't look like a smiley face - that is because some of the ink has come off when my finger has pressed the switch. You'll just have to take my word for it that it is a smiley face. But how did it get there?

There is one possible solution: My gas boiler has been due a service for a few weeks now, and according to the letting agent who manage my property, the handyman who carries out this servicing has collected the spare keys for my house and will be servicing my boiler at some point. Perhaps this smiley on my kettle is his was of saying that he has carried out a service and all is well? Usually, I get a copy of the service certification left on my worktop - but I have not seen one.

Perhaps this is a new European Standard for appliance testing and servicing. In order to save paper, and therefore trees, and subsequently the planet, engineers have been given a set of symbols to leave to indicate the outcome of a service. A smiley face indicates a good service, with no issues, and a skull a crossbones indicates that major repairs or work is required.

From now on, when you take your car in for its MOT, instead of loads of paperwork itemising every issue or problem you'll just get a sticker with a picture of a car that has been crushed into a metal cube. When you take your dog to the vets, you'll either get a smiley face, or a sticker with a gravestone with the words "R.I.P. Fido" on it. The possibilities are endless.

I will check with my letting agent to see if the handyman has been in to service my boiler. If it turns out that he hasn't, then I'm a bit stuck.

Unless......it wasn't a smiley face, but the face of Jesus that has miraculously appeared on my kettle. People see the face of Jesus all the time - if he's not popping up on toast, then he's a spicy Nik-Nak corn snack, or he's on one half of a potato. We've all heard of the Shroud of Turin, this could be the Kettle of Sturminster Newton.


Blasphemy anyone? No? Just me then......

Friday, 9 September 2011

Dogs

Today's Blog is dedicated to Megan, Joey, Herbie, Tyson,  Donkey, Jack, Alfie, Bertie (Dirty! Bertie!), Solomon, Bosun, Blacky and Misty.

If you don't get the connection between all these names, allow me to elaborate: They are all Dogs. Most are still with us, some have left us for greener kennels.

Megan, Herbie and Joey are - in my opinion - The Best Dogs In The World. They belong to Louisa. Tyson was Louisa's dog when Megan was a puppy. Donkey is my Boss's dog. Jack belongs to Leigh and Jim, Alfie is the dog that lives with Ben, Michelle and Cain (I'm not sure whose dog he is exactly). Bertie lives with Gwen. Solomon and Bosun were my parents dogs at different times. Blacky was my Aunty Agnes's dog. Misty was my dog, many years ago.

In my opinion, these dogs - in fact all dogs - have one thing in common: They only ever give love. Dogs don't do jealously, material greed, envy, hatred, frustration, sarcasm, spitefulness, bitterness, regret, revenge, or any of the thousand other negative emotions and things that humans do. Any behavioural issues with a dog is based on the way it is treated and trained, in my opinion. Dogs only do love - they don't always get love back.

If you sit with a dog for three hours in a room, and then walk out of the room and close the door for fifteen seconds leaving the dog inside alone, when you open the door again, the dog is instantly pleased to see you. Every morning, when your dog sees you, happiness pours from its every fibre by the bucket load. How many of the people we see every day have the same reaction?

After a hard days work, the best way for me to wind down was to walk the dogs. Having a small dog snuggle up to me on the sofa - and then have a large dog leap into my lap because it thinks it is a small dog even when it's a Springer Spaniel - made my soul soar.

Dogs don't get a very good deal in most cases. Whether they get walked is at the discretion of their owner, in some cases the same applies to their being fed. We leave our dogs for long periods of time while we go to work, or go to the pub on a Friday or Saturday night. We shout at our dogs if they happen to be in our way when we  are in a bad mood. Some people kick and beat their dogs. Some people kill their dogs, or train them to fight to the death.

All a dog wants is to be fed, exercised, and loved. Imagine how simple life would be if that was all that you desired. It is not a lot to ask, yet in return they give unconditional love, loyalty, and they protect you as best they can if the need arises. Admittedly, they yapping bark of a Yorkshire Terrier might not deter a burglar or mugger, but the intent from the Yorkie is there. It's like the saying says - "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size if the fight in the dog". Although, I don't want to think about where that saying originated.

I am a dog lover. Cats are okay, but it's dogs for me every time. Yes they chew furniture, crap in the house when they are young, bark at nothing in the middle of the night, dig holes in the garden, and all the annoying things that dogs do. But they never tell you that you're worthless, they never criticise, or complain. That wagging tail will mend a thousand broken hearts, fix a million bad days, and dry an endless river of tears - and all you have to do is acknowledge the dog that owns it.

If there is a dog nearby as you read this, give it some love. I gurantee it will love you right back - but you'll stop way before it does.

If you haven't got a dog - you don't know what you are missing.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Eyes, Gears, and ......Slow, Slow, Cook Cook Slow!

So, I went back to the Hospital today for the results of the recent scanning and photographing of my eyes. After much waiting in the waiting room (much more than anticipated), and talking to cheeky little old ladies about how yes, I am, tall and yes, the weather is cold "up there" and the air is thin, I eventually get in to see the doctor. He has another look at my eyes, looks at the photographs of the backs of my eyes, looks back at my eyes, looks at me and says, "look...."
Basically, it's all about the pressure in my eyes. The pressure in my eyes, whilst within "Normal" parameters, is still high, which could lead to Glaucoma - and that's bad. So, for now I have to put eye drops into my eyes (where else?) every night, and then come back for another check in two months. I haven't really learnt more about my 'problem' than I already knew, and I didn't ask any questions about what the scan and photographs of my eyes showed up - if anything. I'll make a note to ask next time.


What I did learn is that some things are pointless. Like asking me to look at an eye chart without my glasses on, when they know that I have bad eyesight, and know that on a previous appointment I took the same test WITH my glasses on. I am very short sighted - my eyesight is so bad that without my glasses on, anything further away than a foot is unreadable. So asking me to read an eye chart twenty feet away from me is a bit of a non starter.


Nurse: Take off your glasses, and cover you left eye. Can you read anything on the chart?
Me: No.
Nurse: Okay, now cover the right eye. Can you read the chart now?
Me: No.


Bear in mind that the top line of an eye chart has one letter on it, and that letter is about half a metre in height. Obviously, I did know what the top three lines of the chart said from memory, because I had read them when my glasses were on. If she wants to waste her time, then I'm not going to stop her.




Because I was having eye drops put in today, I couldn't drive to my appointment. Luckily, I was in credit in my Karma account, and the friend I have lent my car to, offered to take me to my appointment and bring me back. Do good things, and good things will happen to you.
Now my friend is 78 years old, and has been driving for 60 years. All that being said, it's weird being the passenger in your own car. I was watching everything he did, and was thinking "I don't do it like that", but the way he used the gears was the worst.
He took ages to change gear. Quite often he would drive at 35 miles and hour in 2nd gear, with the engine screaming. he got up to 50mph in 3rd gear, and my poor little car really didn't like it. I couldn't say anything, because he was helping me out by giving me a lift - but at the same time I could help but think "what are you doing to my car!!!"


After my appointment, my friend drove me back to his house to have a cup of tea with him and his almost wife, Heather. While I was there, Heather said "we've got a present for you", and walked into the lounge. I followed, and there on the sofa was a brand new Slow Cooker. I have wanted a slow cooker for ages, because they are bloody useful, and I can cook one of my most favourite meals in it - Sausage Casserole. I haven't had Sausage Casserole in years and years, and I absolutely love it. It was very naughty of my friends to buy it for me - they said it was their way of saying thank you for the loan of my car. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: do good things, and good things will happen to you!


So I have a Slow Cooker - and can't wait to use it. It will be perfect for me; I can put it on in the morning when I go to work, and when I come home at night, it will be ready. Just think about all those lovely hot meals I can do for those cold, dark winter nights.....fabulous!


If anyone has a favourite slow cooker meal, or knows of a website where I can get some recipes, please let me know.



Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Message?

I have a notepad by my bed at home, on which I scribble bits and pieces. The top piece of paper has notes for material to be used in a stand up routine, and the rest of the pad is as yet unused. However, whilst absently minded flicking through the blank pages of the rest of the notepad,  I came across one page which wasn't blank. I only had four words on it,  and they were written on the second line down.

old man collecting shells


I'm pretty sure it says "shells" - it is in my handwriting (which is appalling), but that last word could just as easily be "skulls", which changes the entire tone of those four words.

I have no memory of writing those words, but I think my rediscovering them is no accident as I am starting to think about and plan my next story. Already, I have ideas running through my mind....


old man collecting skulls


old man collecting shells


old man


skulls

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Disabled, Hitchhiking Spider of Doom!!!

I am not scared of spiders, but when I see a particularly big one, I get a bit funny about it being all legs and gangly.

Which is a feeling I imagine all of my ex-girlfriends can relate to.

A few days ago, I encountered a large spider in the male toilets at work. In order to avoid appearing like a girl when i told folk how "big and 'orrible" it was, I took this photo:
Spider Plumbers, Prefer Rulers To Tape Measures
As you can see, it was a fairly big chap. So big in fact, that seconds after this photo was taken, it snatched the ruler out of my hand and promptly ate it. Understandably, I made my excuses and left.

Yesterday, I was in the toilet again - not all day - when I saw said Arachnid again. This time he was in a better position to be photographed, so I did:
The Age Old Game of "Poke The Spider And Run"
Because I was without my ruler, I was forced to place part of my anatomy in close proximity to the Spider to give it some scale. Having my body close to such a hairy, leggy and disgusting creature filled me with revulsion.

Yet more solidarity with my ex's.

You will notice that the spider is missing a leg. I was already missing that leg when I saw it - I hadn't pulled it off in an unprovoked attack. I thought it might be a particular species of spider, one with only seven legs - but it turns out that it just lost one somewhere. I took my photo, and went to back to work.

The rest of my day was uneventful, as was my evening. I had a nice dinner, watched a bit of TV, and then came to bed. Lately, I've been having trouble sleeping, and again last night the sheep were refusing to jump over fences and let them count them. Between the hours of 10:30pm and 1:00am (roughly) I was restless and uncomfortable. I remember that a door downstairs was banging in a draft, and that I went down to close it properly. I came back upstairs, got back into bed - and then promptly got out again because I had left "big light" on in my bedroom - even though my bedside light was still on, and gave out sufficient illumination. As I got back into bed, having turned off big light, I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I looked properly, and saw that it was a spider on my ceiling, so I got out of bed to get rid of it humanely. However, when I got a close look at it, I froze. This was the spider I saw:
Remember Me? We Met in The Toilets at Your Work a Few Days Ago...
Count the legs this spider has - and then tell me that it isn't the very same spider I saw at work!!
I couldn't believe it - this couldn't be the same spider, could it? But what are the chances of two of the same species of spiders having the same disability? Unless this particular type of Arachnid is predisposed to having its limbs drop off at random moments?
It looked like the same spider - in which case, how did it get in my house? I went through through the options:

1) In the brief moments we were in close proximity in the gents toilets at my workplace, the spider felt a strong emotional bond to me, like a dog has for its owner, and simply followed me home in the hope that I would take it in and keep it for my very own.

2) Like some sort of crazed Bond Villain, the spider blamed me and my ruler for the loss of its leg and had finally tracked me down seeking it's vengeance.

3) It hitched a ride home with me in my clothing.

Yes, number 3 nearly made me vomit too.

I have no other explanation for how this Spider - that looks a bloody awful lot like the disabled spider I saw in the toilets at work - found it's way onto my bedroom ceiling. It could have been in my trousers, in my coat, in my rucksack, anywhere. Well not anywhere - if it had been in my boxers, I would have known about it. It's been so long since anything has moved down there, I would have known straight away!

 Well, I didn't mess around - I grabbed an empty glasses cleaning kit tin (£5 from Marks & Spencers - an ideal stocking filler for the bespectacled love of your life), and trapped the spider in it. You know you've got a large spider when the sound of it's feet landing in the tin is loud enough for you to hear. I opened a window and shook the spider out. It was dark, but I think it landed on the window sill and scurried (limped) away.

Hopefully that will be the last I see of it. But you know what spiders are like for turning up again.

As a matter of course, I looked in the gents toilets today to see if I could see the spider.

It had vanished...........

Monday, 5 September 2011

Just When You Thought It Was Safe..........

It's been long enough.

The world has been waiting, and now, finally, I am ready to answer the call.

Yes folks, I'm going to write another Story!!

It's been two years since "Nonsense Tale", which spent 56 weeks at the top of the Friends and Family "Reading material so bad I wouldn't wipe my bum with it" list, and I now have the urge to put pen to paper - or rather fingers to keyboard.

This time, however, it will be different. This time, I'm going to plan my story - the plot, the characters, the settings, everything that I didn't bother to plan last time. Although I am pleased with how "Nonsense Tale" came out, I want to see if writing 'properly', makes a difference (to me) in the quality of the finished product. I'm sure it will - if it doesn't, then I would have wasted all that planning time for nothing.

At the moment, I have no idea what I am going to write about. I have custard and jellied with the idea - sorry, I meant I have trifled with the idea of writing a thriller - but I don't think my strengths lie there. I do know that I will not be writing a sequel to "Nonsense Tale", as that would be too easy. I want and expect this to be a challenge. But fear not, the characters in "Nonsense Tale" are not forgotten.

The planning process starts tomorrow. I don't know how long I will take (or need to take) to complete this project. "Nonsense Tale" took six months to write, but that was all off the top of my head. I expect that this time around, my story will take much, much longer.

So, you have been warned; The Drivel is coming - and he rides a jet black horse.

Called Brian.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Tsk!!..........(Sigh)

Apparently, the one thing that us English people do very well is queue. We queue for buses, for theme park rides, for films at the cinema - all sorts of things. But I don't think we do it well because we enjoy it, I think we do it well in terms of the fact that we have to do it so much. I would go as far as to say that all hate queuing, because on  many occasions I have observed people going right off on one because they have had to queue.

Take today for example - I popped out to Co-Op to pick up some lunch, and when I got to the checkout there was a bit of a queue (three people), but it was moving. People were in a good mood - well as good a mood as you can be when queuing - and all was well. And then, it all went horribly wrong.

The cashier was a new member of staff. I could tell this, because he did not have a uniform on. I'm not saying he was naked - that would put you right off your packet of sausages -, he was wearing a brown check shirt. He was not a gormless teenager, he must have been at least late twenties or early thirties - so on first glance, you would have thought that he was a competent adult. Well, you'd be wrong. Suddenly, this cashier lets out a shrill, piercing cry:

'I've gone wrong! I've gone all wrong! Sorry! I've gone wrong!"

Something had gone wrong. The moment the cashier made this cry, the faces of the people in the queue changed from a vacant expression of boredom, to an eye rolling, tutting, look of anger - it was like a mexican wave of hatred. At this point, I would like to stress that I was not part of this growing lynch mob - having worked in retail for 11 years, I do have sympathy for the cashier at times like this - even though it was his own fault, and the fact that he was waving his arms around like a hysterical person was beginning to get on my nerves.

Mind you, with several people glaring at him, and complaining under their breath - as well as over their breath, and tutting and what have you, it was understandable. To a degree - the useless nerk.

I looked around for other options - there is a smaller, Kiosk cashier available (I mean the Kiosk is smaller, not the cashier - although, ironically todays kiosk cashier was the small bloke who shouts everything he says), but there was already a queue forming there. For a moment, I thought about staying in the queue I was in, but the cashier was still flapping. From what I could make out,  the problem was caused by the customer asking for cash back, which was clearly an area of training the cashier was as yet to undergo.

I decided to move to the Kiosk cashier queue, and risk being deafened by shorty mcshout. Fortunately for me, another till was opened so I jumped on that one (not literally), and got myself served, and went on my merry way.

Which is more than can be said for the other people in the "queue of death". As far as I know, they are still there, waiting to be served......

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Invention Needs a DNA Test.......and Dirty Creatures Messing Up My Roof Tiles

Spork........and Mindy
They say that Necessity is the mother of Invention, and that is true - up to a point. Not everything that has been invented is truly needed. Take the Spork for example - a piece of cutlery that is both Spoon and Fork. At the time this was invented, we already had both the spoon and the fork, so there was no actual need for a combination of the two. The fact that some people couldn't be bothered to take two pieces of cutlery with them when they went on a picnic, or when they wanted a snack whilst travelling (please tell me that people don't use these at home?) wasn't justification enough. The spork was invented so that someone could make money from it.

So whilst necessity claims to be the mother of invention, there are rumours that say invention looks nothing like necessity, but does bear something of a resemblance to necessity's neighbour, greed. But what of the father or Invention? Who is he? Who slept with Necessity (and possibly greed) and created this child of questionable parentage?

It isn't procrastination - he is the lazy son of Apathy and Frustration, who met on a speed dating night at their local bingo hall. Pro (as he likes to be called) would never have had the drive to seduce necessity (or greed) given the opportunity, he would have promised to do it later but never get round to it.

Nor could it be Caution -  he is far too shy a creature to even talk to a woman, let alone....you know.

In fact it is Inspiration, the go-getting son of Realisation and Appreciation, the young fireball that sadly likes to "inspire" others whenever he can - hence the doubts about Inventions mother. You see, Inspiration and Necessity would create Invention, but so could Inspiration and Greed. I think, in truth, that Inspiration had a 'Menage a Trois' with Necessity and Greed which is why invention comes around for a variety of reasons - not just to fill a need.


So I was at home this morning, doing my housework like a good boy, when I heard this noise coming from my kitchen roof (my kitchen was built as an extension to the original property). It was quite a racket, and my initial thoughts were "who the hell is on my roof!?".
I rushed outside expecting to see some great clod in work boots stomping all over my roof, but instead caught two pigeons "going at it". The moment they saw me, the female flew off - leaving the male pigeon stood of my roof giving me evils. We eyeballed each other for a few moments, before I said "well go on then - sod off!". Yes, I actually shouted at the pigeon. Yes I know how sad that is.
The Pigeon flew off - and as it did I noticed it had a damaged wing. Two of it's feathers were stuck out in a "V" shape.

I assume it was damaged, anyway.

Those pigeons made so much noise that it sounded like they were loosening the tiles. So tomorrow I'm going to borrow a ladder from my neighbour and check out the roof. I'm going to check my guttering anyway, so might as well kill two birds with one stone. If I catch those pigeons again, that is exactly what I will do.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Crippling

I have had an epfininy apiphanie ......a realisation today.  Yet again, my desires to throw off the layer of blubber that surrounds my torso have been put on hold by the fact that my poor plates are suffering again.
Originally, I had nearly crippled myself by wearing my walking boots which gave me monstrous blisters on the soles of my feet. It took a month for my feet to recover, and in that time I bought a new pair of trainers with which to do my Fitness walking.
The new trainers were true to their word, and gave me no blisters. What they did do, however, is crush my toes a little - well, alot to be honest and both my big toes have very sore nails. The reason for this is that I didn't have enough room in my trainers for my feet.
That might sound a bit silly - my trainers are a size 12, and I alaways thought I was a size 12 but apparently, over time the ligaments and muscles in your feet change so the size of your feet changes.
I do admit that I don't bother trying on shoes or trainers - but perhaps I should. I reckon I'm a size 13 now, or at least need a size 13 to give my tootsies the room the need.

So, next payday I buy some clown shoes - sorry, size 13 trainers. This time I'll try them on first.

All I want to do is get fitter and lose some flab - but without crippling my feet.

Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Faster, Faster! Damn, You Brain....

So I'm back on the exercise kick, with new trainers that aren't giving me blisters. The results have been immediate: tonight I walked the second longest distance I have walked so far, but in the fastest time yet. You can check out my workout(s) HERE. I am especially pleased with myself because A) I set a new personal best time for walking a mile - 11 minutes 43 seconds, and B) because after setting consecutively faster times for each of the first three miles I walked, my pace slowed as fatigue kicked in - but I was able to get it back and match my best time for a mile before I finished. The bar has been set, and I will have to see if I can improve on these times next time (Saturday 3rd September).

I am fairly confident that I will be able to improve on both my overall and individual mile times as I get fitter. I know that through repeating this exercise I will train my muscles to withstand the exertion and give me more energy - but I also wonder if it is possible to train your reactions to signal those muscles to move a fraction faster, and therefore give you faster movement?

Like I said, I know that it is possible to train your muscles to lift more weight, or move more. If you did ten press ups everyday for a week, at the end of the week it will be much to do those ten press ups than it was at the beginning of the week. So can you do the same with your reactions? I assume that you can - athletes competing in the 100m sprint final at the Olympics, spend years training to not only run as fast as they can, but to also explode out of the blocks as soon as possible after the starting pistol is fired.

The reason I ask is that I assume that if I can get my brain to tell my legs to move that fraction faster, I will get more energy out of them, and therefore move faster. I'm curious to know how much I can improve on my current best time of 1h 20m 28s. I know that soon I will break the 1h 20m mark - but can I get it down to 1h 10m?



At this precise moment in time however, I don't care. My legs ache.