Friday, 16 March 2012

This Is Not Goodbye. It Is Just That You Will Never See Me Again.

On March 16th 2011, I started writing this blog. Today's Blog is my 365th - completing one whole years worth of blogging.

On average, it takes me about an hour and a half to write each Blog. That means, that over the course of thus past year, I have been "Blogging" for 547 and a half hours. That is over 22 days worth - just over three weeks of continuous Blogging!

It has been quite a journey for me. This started out as a funny idea, but quickly became more than that. It became a huge part of my day - in fact in truth, often I would plan my day around it. I started scribbling notes of ideas as they came to me, and on the days where inspiration failed me, I in turn failed you my audience with a poor quality Blog.

I am ashamed and frustrated by the fact that there has been a definite drop off in quality in my Blogs. There is one simple reason for this: the death of my Laptop. For some reason, inspiration flowed more readily through me when I could type on a keyboard than when I tap the screen on my IPhone. And even though the difference is only one digit (I type on a keyboard using my index fingers only), it has not been the same using the Blogger App.

Incidentally, I reckon I could afford lose all my fingers except my index fingers and still be able to type at an acceptable level (to me). Of course, pressing Ctrl, Alt + Delete might be difficult.......

Since I started, my Blog has been viewed 12,629 times - that's 34 views per Blog. I'm quite proud of that fact - especially when you consider the diversity of topic.

The majority of my Blogs have been nonsense - silly ideas, my stupid interpretations of things, stuff like that. But I have also not been afraid to bare my soul to you. I've written this Blog from a few dark places, and have shared some very personal experiences. And I've shared these things because I wanted to be honest with you. Each of you take the time to click on the link I put on Facebook or Twitter (Larry1971 in case you want to follow me), so it is only right in my mind, that I be honest with you - I owe you that much at least.

I have Blogged about so many different things, that looking back at the list of Blog titles, I can't think what they are about. A few of my favourite things I've Blogged about are:

• My Father
• My Mother
• The Wedding of my lovely friends Jim and Leigh
• My Best Mate
• Cutting out 400g bars of Chocolate
• How urinating around your camp can protect you from Bears
• How injecting yourself with Garlic won't save you from a Vampire - but you will have the last laugh
• Last Years Holiday To Scotland
• My Adventures in Sign Language
• Numerous Blogs concerned with matters of the toilet

...and many, many more!

Some of you have been with me from the beginning, others have joined mid way through this year, and for some this very Blog will be the first one you've read. However long you've been here, let me say hello and thanks for stopping by. The good thing about writing 365 Blogs is that now I can go back to the start and read them all again! If you want to do the same, feel free - and you do, do me a favour? Everytime you visit one of my Blogs, could you just click on one of the adverts down the side? You see I get a couple of pence every time someone does that. So far I have earnt £27 - although I don't actually get any money until my earnings reach £60. I am saving up to try and get my laptop repaired, so as Tesco says, "We're going to muscle in, ruin local businesses, and become a blight on your community - mwahahahahaar!!!"

Or, "every little helps". I forget which. Either way, any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.

Although I am glad that I will no longer have to write a Blog every single day, I will miss Blogging. Therefore, I am not going to stop - at least not entirely. I am going to change this Blog from "everyday" to "every now and then" - the idea behind this is like easy origami - two-fold; I will only write my Blog when I have something worth while to Blog about, and subsequently, you will have a better quality Blog to read.

But what else will I do with my extra hour and a half every night? Well, I will need to step up my Sign Language practice, and will be doing more walking for exercise, so that will keep me busy. I am also thinking of writing another story - not a sequel to "Nonsense Tale", but something in a similar vein perhaps. I feel I have another story inside me - but that could just be indigestion.

But as for Larry: An Every Day Blog, this is the end. I do hope you have enjoyed reading them. One of the main reasons I wanted to do this, was to bring a bit of humour to my friends and family. And if even just one of you has ever smiled at something I have written, then I consider this Blog a success.

And if you really liked it, feel free to share it with your friends - I'm happy for anyone to read it. The more the merrier - literally, I hope!

Finally, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Yet again you have humoured this worthless fool and allowed him to express himself freely without scorn or criticism.

The Blog is dead. LONG LIVE THE BLOG!!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Collective Nouns, Plural, and The Inebriation Scale

Collective nouns - you know, a herd of elephants, a gaggle of geese, a horde of hamsters, that sort of thing.

Who decides what collective noun gets used for a particular thing? Is there a committee (whose members, incidentally, are known by the collective noun "bickering", as in 'A bickering of committee members') that decides these things? And are these decisions final, or open to appeal?

I suppose that careful consideration goes in to choosing the correct noun. There could be a number of options, each of which is considered and then either put forward or rejected. Without this process, things could go amiss.

For example; Rapists. I don't know the collective noun for Rapists, or if one even exists - but if it did, I assume it would be something like 'A Violation' or something similar. What you don't want is to end up with something inappropriate, like 'A Cuddle' - that wouldn't do at all. 'A Cuddle of Rapists' just doesn't sound right.

Similarly, the collective noun for lightbulbs is hopefully something like 'An Inspiration', or 'An Idea' - or even, 'An Illumination'. If it turns out to be 'A Blackout', or 'A Darkness', then someone has missed a trick somewhere.

And what if, as a collective, you don't like the noun you have been given? Can you appeal to have it changed? Take Crows - the collective noun for Crows, is a 'Murder' - presumably because they are at the Tower of London (I don't know)?. Whatever the story behind it, it does paint Crows in rather a bad light.

So what if the Crows went to the Committee for Collective Noun Selection (Or the CCNS as it likes to be called, and tried to get it changed to something more likeable, like 'A Snuggle of Crows', or 'An Enjoyment of Crows'? Would they be successful?

Probably not. Because if they were, it would open the flood gates, and every thing that had ever been given a collective noun would be trying to change it. The collective world as we know it would be in peril!

If anyone does know the collective nouns for Rapists and for Lightbulbs, please tell me.

Plurals - no, not those mountains in Russia, plurals of words. I never know which is correct. Don't get me wrong - I know some, for example:

The plural of Octopus is actually 'Octopuses' - but 'Octopi' can also be used.

For Sheep it is Sheep, and for Mouse it is Mice - but I guess what I want to know is: is there a rule of thumb, and what is it?

Incidentally, where did the phrase 'Rule of Thumb' come from? Was there an ancient Tyrant King with massive thumbs who cruelly ruled his people, making all their decisions for them?

Anyway, what is the rule of thumb for plurals?

If you take 'Mouse' and 'Mice' as an example, you would think that a singular word ending in "ouse" would automatically have a plural ending in "ice" - but if that was the case, a residential street would be a row of Hice, several Game birds would be Grice, and your wife's seventeen work shirts would be her collection of Blice.
But as we know, it doesn't work that way.

Similarly, if The plural of Octopus can be both Octopuses AND Octopi, why can't the plural for Bus be Bi as well as Buses? If it was, the term 'Bi-curious' would just be another word for a type of train spotter.

If there are set rules (rules? Or ruleses? Or rulii?) for the use of plurals, I think they should be taught in Schooleses.

And finally.......

There appears to be a scale for everything: Earthquakes (Richter Scale), Hardness (Mohs Scale), Tornados (Fujita Scale), even Religious Beliefs (Dawkins Scale).

But not for drunkenness....

By the way, I personally think the Scale for measuring Religious Beliefs should be the "He's not the Messiah - he's a very naughty boy!" Scale.

Anyway, do you not think there should be a scale by which your drunkenness could be measured? Even if we went by the common most terms we use ourselves to describe ours and each others state of sobriety as individual levels, we could still come up with the following list (Apologies for the language used)

• Sober
• Tipsy
• Merry
• Tiddly
• Wobbly
• Pissed
• Legless
• Bladdered
• 3 Sheets To The Wind
• Blotto
• Hammered
• Shit-faced
• Paraletic
• Arseholed
• Wankered
• Lashed
• Plastered
• Trollied
• Sozzled
• Steaming
• Wasted
• Dead

And this isn't even the full list!

But all you would need to do is to have this list printed on a wall chart in varying fonts and sizes, going from Sober at the top to dead at the bottom. When you come stumbling in after a night out, whichever word you can actually focus on tells you how drunk you are.


Or if you've been drinking - 60% proof!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Age, Dark and Lazy, Complimentary Hooker Service...and The Woo Hoo Man

I am almost 41 years old.

Today, I received two compliments - one forehand compliment, and one backhand compliment. Firstly, the forehand compliment; I was told, by a beauty therapist, that she thought I looked about 30 years old. Whilst extremely pleased by this, my initial thought was "she needs glasses" - because although I like to think that I might look younger than I am, even I know, that I don't look that young!

Fortunately the backhand compliment evened things out for me. I was told, by a bearded Welshman of immense quality and loveliness, that I "was one of those people who can look anywhere between 30 and 50 years old"
50? 50!!?? Dear lord, the day that anyone sees me looking 50, tell me and I'll go home and hide under the duvet!
Unless it is my 50th Birthday, of course. That 'compliment' brought me right back down to earth, I can tell you. I'll admit there have been days where I might have felt 50 - but I wouldn't say that I've ever looked it.

But, as I said earlier, I am almost 41 years old. In my 41 years I have amassed a vast amount of knowledge, I have become somewhat articulate, talented, and many other wonderful things that all of us as human beings become during the journey that is life.

So why am I still so stupid?

Why can I not, after living in my house for almost two years now, remember how many stairs I have when the lights go out?
I'm talking about the stairs from my living room up to my bedroom. They go 7 stairs, then a small landing, and then 3 stairs to the right, and I'm in my bedroom. There is no light on my stairs. I have a light in my bedroom, operated by a pull cord at the top of my stairs, and I have my lounge lamp in the corner furthest in my stairs - so I am always walking upstairs in darkness when going to bed.

In the time I have lived here I have walked up and down those stairs thousands of times - 7 to the landing, turn to the right, then 3 up to my bedroom. And yet whenever I turn off my lounge light on my way to bed, when I get to the stairs, my brain says "Hang on - I didn't know we had stairs?" For some reason, when plunged into darkness, I systematically forget the layout of my stairs.

As a result, I walk slowly up the stairs stubbing my toes deliberately as I kick forward, feeling for when I reach the landing - whilst at the same time leaning against the bannister so that I know that when it ends I am near the landing.
When I reach the landing, I turn to my right, continue walking - but now start groping in the air for the light cord to turn on my bedroom light. There have been many times when I have failed to find it at first, and have stood there, twirling on the edge of the top step, risking falling backwards down the stairs as I try to find the light cord.

And I'm no better in the kitchen. Sometimes, I'll bring a cup of tea to bed with me. Now, my kitchen light is in the opposite corner to the door that leads from my kitchen to my living room, and the door to my living room swings shut all the time.

I have got into a bad habit of making a cup of tea, then switching off my kitchen light - and not being able to find my cup of tea. So how do I solve this problem? Do I turn the light back on, pick up my tea and THEN switch the light off?

No. I prefer the "sweeper" method. Very simply, this involves me crouching slightly so that my shoulders are just higher than the work surface, extending one arm over the work surface - and then sweeping that ATM back and forth over the work surface as I move along it, until it hits my cup revealing its location. This method never fails to work, and is why my kitchen is such a mess all the time. I could just wedge the door to my living room open to let more light in, but that's just too much hard work. Lazy - that's me. And easily confused in the dark.

Why is it, that whenever footballers are caught with hookers, A) it's always several hookers, and B) it's always in a hotel room? Surely these people earn enough money to be able to buy a small, secretive place where they can meet these hookers? Maybe they don't want to spend their money on a property that will only be used as an illicit love nest, when there are obviously hotels around that provide complimentary hookers upon arrival?

And how many hookers does one person need? Having too many would be like plate spinning - you'd have to keep going back to them at different stages to ensure they were all still spinning, and in the end still end up with smashed plates. Apart from the obvious physical numerology requirements, anything past two is a bit of a waste isn't it? Unless these footballers pay an extra few hookers just to sit there and tell them how much they love the way the footballer crosses the ball?

How would you order your complimentary hookers anyway? Would it be a simple enquiry when you check in - or does that sort of thing vibe under the heading of "Room Service"? And would your hookers get replaced and topped up, like the mini bar??

Finally today, how do you get a job as a "Woo Hoo" man? You know the guy that tells a live studio audience to clap and cheer when they come back on air after an ad break? How did he get that job - was the interview panel an audience of 100 people that he has to work into a frenzy? Maybe he just started out as a runner, and worked his way up to 'Audience Exciter'? Can you get training for that?

And what happens if one day he starts taking his work home with him? If he commutes, would he leave a trail of whooping and cheering people all the way home?

Maybe they can't do that outside of work - maybe it's because they spend all day getting people to be excited and cheer, that they can't get excited or show it at home. If that is the case, it is a terrible shame........

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Words - Just a Sword With The Beginning At The End

Firstly, if a ghost sees a bed sheet on a washing line, does it think, 'so sad - it had so much to live for...' ?

That notion popped into my head as looked out at my bed sheet on my washing line as I made myself a cup of coffee just now. It has nothing to do with this blog, but I wanted to share.

Those of you that know me well, will know that I am a wind turbine of words, and word play. Or to put it another way - a big fan. Where possible I like to use one hundred words where one would have sufficed, and use them in such a way as to leave the reader confused and mystified. My favourite method for doing this is Invisible Ink - as this next paragraph demonstrates:

See? Wasn't that funny?

When I was younger - so much younger than today, I never needed anybody's help in any way. Oh, I'm sorry - I appear to have slipped into a Beatles song there for a number two. Second! I mean second! - slipped into that song for a second. I do apologise - my words seem to be getting away from me.

I used to own a book called "Lost Consonants" - Google it once you have read this. This book was a collection of pictures that described the caption below. Usually, it is the other way around. I've written a caption or two in my time; my most infamous was when I worked for Tous R Us, and our store had a major refit. On the Grand Re-Opening day, the Managing Director of Toys R Us UK (Graham Barker - for those who remember him) came down to cut the ribbon to officially re-open the store. There was a picture taken of Graham and a local child who had won a drawing competition (I think) to open the store with the Managing Director - the child was holding his winning drawing, whilst the Managing Director bent down to cut the ribbon. When I saw the photo, it looked like our Managing Director was speaking to the little boy, so I playfully suggested that the caption should be the Managing Director saying:
"Have you ever seen a grown man naked?"

Surprisingly, that wasn't chosen. Spoilsports.

Anyway, "Lost Cosonants" does the reverse. It takes an ordinary sentence, 'loses' one vital consonant which changes the entire feeling of the sentence, and adds a picture to fit. To give you an example, here are a few:

Original sentence: Every time the doorbell rang, the dog starting barking.
Consonant dropped: "R"
New sentence: Every time the doorbell rang, the dog started baking.
Picture: Dog with oven gloves on, and a tray of cookies.

Original sentence: The face at the window, gave her a terrible shock.
Consonant dropped: "S"
New sentence: The face at the window, gave her a terrible Hock.
Picture: Man peering through the window with a cheap bottle of wine.

Now you get the idea, try picturing these:

Original sentence: PC Taylor was keen to try out his bulletproof vest.
("S" dropped)
New Sentence: PC Taylor was keen to try out his bulletproof vet.

Original sentence: The collective works of William Shakespeare.
("R" dropped)
New sentence: The collective woks of William Shakespeare.

Original sentence: Every evening, after supper, Stuart liked to take a little stroll round his garden.
("S" dropped)
New sentence: Every evening, after supper, Stuart liked to take a little troll round his garden.

Original sentence: He became uneasy when the dog snarled and showed him its fangs.
("N" dropped)
New sentence: He became uneasy when the dog snarled and showed him its fags.

Original sentence: Truth can be stranger than fiction.
("T" dropped)
New sentence: Ruth can be stranger than fiction.

And my personal favourite:
Original sentence: Students often took part time jobs to make their grants stretch further.
("T" dropped)
New sentence: Students often took part time jobs to make their grans stretch further.

So you see, words can be fun. I love to say things in a silly way, just to get a laugh out of someone - even if it is myself.

Someone famously said "The pen is mightier than the Sword" - but then someone else said "A picture is like a thousand words" - so which is right?

I guess that is the upper class version of "Rock - Paper- Scissors": Sword beats painting, because it can cut it up. Pen beats sword because words are more powerful than deeds. And painting beats pen because a picture is worth a thousand words.

So on that basis, could you submit a three thousand word essay with just three pictures in it?

So the next time you are reading a paper, or a magazine, just take another look at the sentence you just read, and see if you can't lose a consonant, to spice it up a bit!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Corpsing, Swearing, Motorbike Frightening, Windscreen Steaming, Useless Person!!

As the title of today's Blog might lead you to suspect, today didn't go as well as I'd hoped.

For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, allow me to elaborate:

Today was the second of my three Sign Language assessments for British Sign Language Level 1. BSL102 was to be a two-way conversation on a topic of my choice from this selection -

• The Weather
• Describing My House
• What I Do in My Spare Time

Being a complete idiot, I thought I'd be clever and go for "Describing My House" - the one topic we haven't actually covered so far in our lessons. I thought it would be a good idea to put myself outside my comfort zone, and test my research and Signing skills.

But we all know that thinking isn't my strong point.

From the moment awoke this morning, I was gripped by panic. If fear was a pair of underpants, today they were three sizes too small. I knew what I wanted to say, but I was struggling to get it right in my head. All day I practiced and practiced, and researched words and phrases on-line.

All too soon it was time to set off to Hamworthy, near Poole for my assessment. My assessment was booked for 5:30, so I made sure I arrived in plenty of time so I could have a last minute practice. I was the first person there, but shortly after me, Nikki and her daughter Natasha (Tash) turned up.

It was obvious that we were all nervous about this assessment. Our tutor Louise was there to answer questions, and to help us prepare. She was a great help - but I was still nervous.

And then, my time had come. The assessor, Jackie, is completely deaf. She has been deaf from Birth, and as a result cannot speak. However, she does make noises - little squeaks and groans, which can be a little distracting. Add the fact that this assessment was being video'd, and you can appreciate the pressure I was under.

The assessment started with me signing my name, and signing which topic I had chosen to talk about. Then Jackie started asking me questions. Previously, I had written a transcript of what I wanted to say - but that seemed to go right out of the window.

Initially, things seemed to be going alright; I was understanding the questions, and was asking questions. But then, I asked Jackie a question and her reply involved lots of signing that I just didn't recognise. In my confusion, I just stopped. We had been taught how to ask someone to repeat themselves, and how to say that we didn't understand - but I forgot all that and just corpsed. Jackie waited patiently for me to answer, but when I failed to do so, she smiled and gave me a look that I can only describe as the kind of look you give when you see a disabled child. A kind of "aww, shame" look.

I struggled on, making some progress, but struggling at other times. I froze briefly one more time when Jackie asked me if I ever got to finish decorating my home. As I had never decorated my home (it's not mine - its rented), I wasn't prepared to be asked that. Luckily I remembered how to say that I didn't understand, and Jackie kindly explained slowly. Then I understood, and responded accordingly.

After what must have been the longest five minutes of my short, uneventful life, my assessment was finished. I thanked Jackie, said goodbye and left. I felt like a rabbit that was caught in a cars headlights - and had then been winded by an unexpected punch in the stomach. I left the building, and stumbled in a daze back to my car. As I drove away, I started going back through my assessment in my mind.

And that is when the swearing started.

The more I thought about the mistakes I had made, and how I could have done better, the more wound up I became. I drove home in silence, apart from the occasional four letter outburst at the top of my voice. Heaven knows what the driver in front of me thought when he looked in his rear view mirror and saw my rage contorted face screaming out of my windscreen.

I was so busy running that assessment through my mind over and over again, that I very nearly ploughed straight into a motorbike at a roundabout. In fact, I think it was the motorcyclist's reactions that saved his life.

I was getting so heated, that I was steaming up the inside of my windscreen. I had to keep opening my drivers door window to let air in to clear it - remembering that at these moments, I should try extra hard not to swear. But it was difficult.

By the time I got home, I had calmed down somewhat. Instead of rage, I now felt that I was a useless git who couldn't do Sign Language if his life depended on it.

And now, four hours later, I can't tell you how difficult it is to try and read someone who is Signing. I know I have only just started, but I have such a long way to go in terms of getting anywhere near as good as I need to be to be able to do anything with Sign Language. I'll find out how I did in this assessment in about 6 weeks. I'm not sure I want to know.

But what I do know, is that I've got a long road ahead of me......

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Kite, Parachute, Signs

Sky-diving is a popular past time. Actually, is it a past time? I don't think it is. It's definitely an extreme sport, but would those who enjoy it call it a past time or a hobby? The phrase 'past time' creates an image of an activity which you can share with your family down the park on a Sunday - like cycling or kite flying. And while I am certain that there families that go Sky-Diving together, they don't do it at their local recreation ground I'm sure.

Incidentally, has any one ever flown a kite whilst Sky-Diving? Taken a kite up with them, and them whilst they are free falling to earth release the kite and hold the string and everything? Or would that not count? Is the need to have both feet on the ground a fundamental law of the kite flying institution. If not, then why can't you do it in the air - at least you would need someone else to run along with the kite to try and launch it.

Or underwater? To the best of my knowledge, most modern day kites are made of lightweight materials (they help it fly, I believe). Early pioneers of kite design experimented with alternative materials such as rock, logs, and iron - but these proved to be less aerodynamic and harder to launch. In fact such materials were forbidden to be used in 1947 after the famous "Primary School Concrete Kite" disaster, when 7 children were crushed to death trying to launch a 12 foot concrete kite.

But modern kites are lightweight, and - as anyone who has flown a kite near a duck pond will tell you - are great at taking out Mallards. And they float on water. So why could you not scuba dive to the bottom of a lake or the sea, and then release your Kite? It would float to the surface, you would hold on to the string and hey presto! You are flying your kite underwater! True, you can't actually control the kite's movement when it is bobbing up and down on the surface - but what do you want? You are taking groundbreaking steps in kite innovation, so one step at a time!

Anyway, Sky-Diving. I'm not totally sure of its origins, but I'm assuming one guy saw another guy plummet to his death after his parachute failed to open, and thought, "Gee, I bet that's fun!"

Actually, I'm surprised that Health & Safety haven't crashed the party and sucked all the fun out of Sky-Diving yet. I'm sure as we speak somewhere the following proposals are being drawn up to make Sky-Diving 'safer' :

• A minimum of three Parachutes must be deployed simultaneously when the rip-cord is pulled.
• Every Sky-Diver must wear a "Fat Suit" - an extra padded jump suit to protect them from a hard landing.
• There must be a ground crew with quickly deployable ladders who will climb up and meet the Sky-Diver and 'walk' them down.

They may sound far fetched, but you know how Health & Safety can be....

So, tomorrow is my second Sign Language assessment. This time I have to describe my home - where it is, how many rooms, and each room colour and furniture. Now, we haven't actually covered this in my Sign Language lessons, so I've had to research all of it myself. To be honest, I'm struggling a little. I've learnt the basic signs, but it is the placement signs and some of the in between descriptive signs I'm having trouble with.

My assessment will be a two way conversation. I will describe my house, and my assessor will ask me questions. I will also have to ask her questions, and will have to show understanding and receptive skills - like repeating what she finger spells. And this time, my assessment will be video'd. So a little more pressure than last time.

I should be okay - I've written a transcript of what I want to say, and a list of questions to ask. What worries me is my ability to read what my assessor asks me.

But, learning is never easy - and all I can do is practice, practice, practice, talk to my tutor tomorrow before I go in for my assessment, and try my best.

If I can, I'll ask for a copy of the video of my assessment - just so I can see what I look like when I'm signing.

Right, better get on and practice!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

2 For 1 Blog - Part Two: Hypocrite

I can dish it out, but I can't take it.

I spend large quantities of my time crowing like a Cockerel with an over-inflated sense of its own worth about all the good things that I do. Regular readers of my blog will know that I refer to Karma quite a lot, and basically say that if you do good things, good things will happen to you. And I do believe that, honestly I do.

But as much as I genuinely love helping other people out, I sometimes hate myself for it, and I find it virtually impossible to accept help from friends.

There are times when I should say "no" to people - to friends, but I don't because isn't that what a real friend does? Always be there for his/her friends? But what if in being a friend, the friends puts him/herself in a bad position? Is true friendship sacrifice?

I am something of a hypocrite. I will do anything for my friends - but will most likely complain about it to myself. And I don't complain about my friends asking for help exactly, just the fact that I don't think they truly realise the situation I am in, and the impact my gestures of friendship has on my life.

I struggle financially, quite severely. Although I have no debt (credit cards, loans etc.) I have slipped back into a pattern of taking out a small overdraft each month to cover my cash flow shortage, and then pay it off when I get paid next. I get paid in 20 days time, and I have approximately £14 to last me until then. I need to put enough petrol in my car to take me to
Sign Language class for another 2 llessons (a 42 mile round trip). I get about 9 miles to the litre out of my car so 42 x 2 = 84 / 9 = 9.3333 x £1.40 (average price of petrol) = £13.06. Then I need to get some basic food for the next three weeks. I have been planning ahead already and have got extra milk which I keep frozen, and plenty of pasta and jacket potatoes etc. I will be able to make "job lots" of meals that I can split into two or more portions. But I will still need to get a few bits.
And then there is a local comedy night on the 24th March. My friend is going with his dad and a few people, and I have been invited. His father has already bought my ticket (£12), and I will need money for beers - £25 should cover it.

So I need over £50 to see me through to next payday. I haven't got it. So I will take out an overdraft of £75 to cover me. This will be paid back when I get paid - but as a result, my 'spare' cash for April will be about £30. And by spare cash I mean money left after I have paid all bills and allocated money for food.

So I won't be able to go anywhere in April. My Birthday month, and I won't be able to celebrate. Just like last year when I did nothing for my 40th, because I had no money.

I will not let myself get into debt again. The last time it happened, it eventually cost me the love of my life, because I had huge debt which she paid off for me - but the financial strain that put on us overshadowed our relationship, and (I believe) was one of the contributing factors to our downfall.

I also don't think my friends realise just how bad things are for me. Virtually all my friends are couples, or have a family. They have more than one income coming into their households. I don't - it's just me. So I have to watch every penny I spend, and every drop of petrol I put in my car. So when I get asked to drive somewhere or pick somebody up, my friends don't realise the impact that extra mileage will have for me. And of course I say yes - I would help anybody if they needed me too, but I pay a price for it.

To be honest, I think I suffer from depression a bit. My mum suffered with it terribly, and I don't know if it is hereditary. But there are genuinely times when I wish that I didn't have any friends, and that I just lived far away from everybody where I could just live by myself and just worry about myself. I think that is partly why I want to live in the Highlands of Scotland so much, because it is remote and away from civilisation.

At the moment, I am not happy with my life. Although I know I am a good person, deep down I still don't truly love myself yet. Not in a narcissistic way, but in a normal way. And because of this, I find it hard to let other people love me, or do things for me, or even pay me compliments. For example, last night I was out with friends for an Indian. I was sat next to a woman, and we had to make space for the food to arrive. There was a small vase with a rose in it, which she pushed towards my side of the table. I joked "a flower? For me?" to which she replied, "you're so pretty!" My automatic response was "should have gone to Specsavers"

My knee-jerk reply to any praise or compliment is always negative. I can't take praise or compliments because I don't praise or compliment myself. There is a good possibility that some friends will read this and will want to help. Now that is very kind - but I can't take your help. The way I see it, is that I have to do this myself. Nobody got me into this situation, this was all my own doing. I know that if I don't sort myself out, it will destroy me ultimately. But I have to do this alone. I already feel like some friends see me as a charity case. Again, I'm sure that is not true, but it is my perception of myself. I hate not having the money to do what I see as being normal - pay my bills, eat properly, and be able to treat myself by either going out with friends or buying myself stuff.

My workbooks are falling apart, but I cannot afford to buy new ones. My walking boots are going the same way, and are crippling my feet in the process - but they are even more expensive. My laptop has been broken for almost a year now - I can't afford to get it fixed or buy a new one.

But I am a hypocrite: I complain about having no money, but I spent £8 tonight on lottery tickets. I also went out for a meal and beers last night.

But I am a hypocrite: I say that I am a good friend, and yet I complain about the effects my friendship has on my own life. Plus, I don't want anybody's help.

But I am a hypocrite: I tell you all how terrible my life is, and yet I don't really do anything about it. Well I am, but it's difficult because I am weak.

But I am a hypocrite: I complain about my lack of love life, and how appalling my romantic record has been - but in truth, I have no room in my life for anyone else. I cannot afford to look after myself properly, let alone anyone else, and until I love me, I cannot love somebody else.

I can't let anybody in. Your acts of kindness feels like pity, your generosity makes me feel like a charity case. And yes, I would cut off both arms for you if you truly needed me to. Because that is how I work; I would give my all to any of you, but do not think myself worthy enough to do the same for me.

I don't know why I'm telling you this - perhaps it's because I could never tell you to your face. I think i just needed to get it out, so I could hear it myself.
I'm not saying it for sympathy, or pity, or try and make you love me. I dug this hole that I am in, and I must climb out of it myself.

I will get through this. I must get through this. I am sick and tired of feeling this way. It will be difficult, and I will make tough decisions. I will have to drop off the social radar, but that is a small price to pay for my pride.

I am truly sorry for unleashing this rubbish on you. My mask of silliness, irreverence, and nonsense will be put back on, and normal service will resume.

And finally, I am very much aware of how lucky I am. There are so many people who do not have what I have, and who are much much worse off than me. I'm just a baby who has thrown its toys out of the pram.

Time for me to pick them all up.

2 For 1 Blog - Part One: Bad

Yes I know - this is another one of my 'didn't get round to blogging on the actual day I was supposed to, so I'm writing two the next day' blogs.

I am sorry - I'm not having much luck of late.

You know those days when nothing seems to go right, and you end up resigned to the fact that it just isn't going to get any better? I had one of those yesterday.

I woke up to find that my bad back had returned. I suffer with Sciatica which manifests itself in my case by sending searing pain down my lower back, through the centre of my right buttock, and down my right leg. This pain makes it uncomfortable to walk, which in turn makes me over compensate with my other leg, and results in me walking liked I've soiled myself.
This back pain makes it painful to sit up, lean forward, lean back, put shoes on, take shoes off, reach for something, stretch, slouch, cough, fart, see, and even think apparently. I just hurt all the time.

So that wasn't good.

At work, I was stressed - for both work and non work reasons. Work wise we are behind on production and are waiting for components to be delivered so we can start production. I was preparing as best I could - but my painfully back meant I couldn't do much which was frustrating.
Non work wise, I was also trying to prepare for my second Sign Language assessment, which takes place next Monday. I'm struggling with it, and a small bit of panic was beginning to set in. I was finding it hard to concentrate which was only adding to my frustration.

We usually finish early on a Friday, at by 3pm I was home. Given this opportunity to rest my back, I of course stupidly did the opposite. I put on my walking boots and went out for a 7 mile walk. I say walk, it was more of a hobble / limp along in agony.

What usually takes me an hour and a half to do, took me two hours this time. Two hours of excruciating pain and blind stupid stubbornness culminating in me getting home with a pulled groin muscle to add to my woes.

I put the kettle on to make some coffee, and put the coffee and milk in a cup. As I put the milk back in the fridge I saw a packet of grated cheese. Having missed lunch, I took out a handful and started to eat it as I walked back to the kettle (now boiled) to add the water to my coffee.
Because this wasn't my day, a few gratings of cheese fell out of my hand into my coffee cup just as I poured the water in. I could have thrown the coffee away, I probably should have thrown the coffee away - but I didn't. With a sigh of resignation, I simply stirred my drink and sat down in the lounge.

I didn't stay there long because A) I needed to have a shower, B) sitting on the sofa wasn't doing my back any good, and C) coffee with a hint of cheese isn't that tasty. I limped, whimpering (or wimped, limpering) to the bathroom. I spent a brief penny, then hopped in the shower.

In truth, the shower helped quite a bit. The hot jets of water in my back soothed it just a little. And when I stepped out of the shower, I saw a tiny glimmer of hope with the notion that my day might improve with the slight alleviation of my back pain.

Of course, I immediately smothered that hope with my hand made blanket of despair. I had left my glasses on the window sill above the toilet, as I find wearing them in the shower an inconvenience at best. As I reached for them, the combination of my wet hand, poor motor skills, and fate saying "and now, for my next trick.." resulted in my knocking my glasses off the sill, and into the toilet - which was full of urine.

Now before you say "why didn't you flush it before you got in the shower?" Understand that I'm an advocate of that saying:
"If it's yellow, let it mellow; if it's brown, flush it down; if it's black, see your doctor. And if it's milky white. You have cataracts."

I was trying to save water, by not flushing pee. And now I was having to save my glasses.

With an exclamation of "Oh come off it!" I retrieved my specs. I washed them and my hands thoroughly under the tap, but still couldn't bring myself to wear them. Fortunately I have a spare pair. These of course are now my main pair, and my other pair will remain tucked away until I need them - by which time I would have forgotten about this incident.

Thankfully, that was the last bad thing that happened to me yesterday. It's 11:20am on Saturday morning as I type this. I'm still in bed, and I can still feel my back is painful. I don't know whether I will walk today, I shall see how things are when I get up. I've still got to practice for my Sign Language, so will no doubt be stressing about that later on.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

2 For 1 Blog - Part Two: Viva La Revolution!!

Disclaimer: The facts quoted in this Blog are all drawn from my brain, and may not be correct.

Claimer: I can make my ears squeak. FACT.

I've been thinking: Where will the next revolution come from?
I don't mean a military revolution, where a short moustached nutter decides to try an overthrow his local government.

And when I say local government, I'm not talking about Northampton Borough Council - although who is to say that there isn't a moustached, below average height, angry citizen plotting to overthrow the bourgeois regime that changed the day his bins were collected without notice.

Why are they always short and moustached? - is that one of the 'rules' of Military Revolution? Are you just not allowed to even start a revolution unless you either A) have a moustache, or B) are less than 5ft 4 tall?

Is 'moustached' even a word? To me it sounds more like something that happens to you:
"Yeah, this bloke in the pub started causing trouble, and I just told him to leave it when suddenly he just moustached me for no reason!"

And you know "Movember"? When men grow Moustaches and beards in November to raise awareness of Prostrate Cancer? I reckon that's also know as 'revolution season', because the number of short men with moustaches goes through the roof. And that is why the Government won't fully support it.

So, there is a revolution overdue - but where will it strike? Watch out for short men with a moustache in your area.....

2 For 1 Blog Part One: Emma Weeks

Emma Weeks is not all that she appears to be.

On first impressions, she strikes you.

Oh, I'm sorry - on first impressions she strikes you as a rather shy, quiet person - but one that is instantly likeable, with a warm smile and a kind word. Or a kind smile and a warm word - whichever suits you best.

I first met Emma at a barbecue a few years back. Initially, I thought she was a stuck up snob who could probably benefit from a swift punch up the wazoo - but then again, so could I. Upon further investigation, I discovered that she was a wonderfully kind and lovely person - who could still benefit from a punch up the wazoo.

Emma is also an enigma - highly intelligent on matters linguistic, musical, biological, edible, and geographical, she is also a dumb as a fence post when it comes to more grounded topics. However, she covers any shortcomings by smiling sweetly and spitting in your coffee when you are not looking.

Emma is a mother - no, not a mutha - and has two wonderful children. Three - if you count Alyn. Her son Dylan is a wonderfully terrifying three year old, who is inquisitive to the extreme - recently forcing his father to try to explain where the sun goes when it sets and how the orbits of the planets work.
Fern - who is also called 'Foo' (or Foosal, Foo-man-chu, Sir Isaac Foo-ton, and Foo the F*ck are you looking at!?) - is a dribbly baby of unknown age. Well I don't know, she's not my kid so why should I care?
Fern is gorgeousness incarnate, and has me wrapped around her little finger every time I see her. That baby Ju-Jitsu really has to be seen to be believed!

But Emma also has a darker side - it the side she lays on in bed, and forgets to wash. She is also a scheming, manipulative vixen who is probably plotting the downfall of those around her as we speak. Yesterday she hatched a plan to surprise her fiance Alyn (he of the Bearded Angel fame from previous blogs) with Tickets to see Billy Connolly in Bournemouth last night - and she roped me into it. She sent me an ambiguous text which simply said "I need your help - call me at home".
Immediately, alarm bells sounded in my head. Was she hurt? were the kids alright? Did she have any cookies left over from last time?. I called her - and to my relief (and disappointment) found that I was wrong on all three counts. She told me about the Billy Connolly tickets and said that she had told Alyn to come home straight from work (instead of wasting half an hour stacking sheep in a local field) because I needed to talk to him. My job was to play the part of the troubled friend.

A piece of easy.

The trouble is, our plan worked a little too well. Alyn called me at work, saying that Emma had said I needed to talk to him. I said that I couldn't say at work, but would come round to his house at 6:30 that evening and tell him. What I didn't know was that through further conversations with Emma, Alyn had got it into his head that I had something embarrassingly medical wrong with me. So when he walked through the door of his house later that night, the look on his face was a picture!

Fortunately, Emma is rubbish at keeping a straight face - so we came clean, and broke the surprise. You should have seen his face light up - Beards and candles don't mix, kids. With no time to spare I whisked him off to Bournemouth to see old Billy.

And all of this was the satanic spawn of Emma's brain. She may be pretty as a picture - but she'll dance on your grave for sure!!

Love you Em!! xx

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Rudeness, Fainting, Chat Up, Blood. And......I Would Not Want It Easy.

Today, I re-saddled my horse Karma, took the reigns of Amazingness in my hands, and with a kick of my heels, I rode back into greatness.

I gave blood.

Sounds very little - but it genuinely saves lives. And I am very proud of that.

My donation was booked for 3pm. I arrived at 2:45pm, and went up to the desk to let them know I was there. The whole donation process is run and organised by a team of nurses - the same team do all the local donations I believe. I had to wait while the person in front of me got checked in, and then it was my turn. With a big smile I said to the nurse booking people in, "Hello! I've got a donation booked for 3pm"

Nothing. Not a smile, not even the hint of a grin.

I might as well have said "Ooh, you're a fat old bag with bingo wings and a moustache, aren't you?" judging by the look on her face. I'd obviously caught her on a bad day - the 17,520th bad day of her life.

She grumpily asked me to confirm my name and address, and then shoved a clipboard with a form and a pen on it, and grunted at me to fill it out. She really was rude - I'd hate to see her on a bad day!

I went and sat down and filled out the form. My favourite part of the form is always the part about sexual health - I always tick "no" to everything, because I'm going through a 'dry spell' (like the Gobi Desert). To be honest, chance would be a fine thing.

Opposite where I was sat, was the table where you sat and had tea or coffee and a biscuit or crisps after you have donated. You do that to increase the blood sugar in your system which helps you to recover from giving blood. While I was waiting to be called to donate, there suddenly was drama at the table!

A woman who was having a coffee after donating, suddenly felt unwell. Out of nowhere, three nurses swooped upon her like vultures on a dying Antelope. Within seconds, the woman had been laid on the floor, with her legs raised - and was being patronised heavily.

I've realised that all nurses are trained to patronise people, no matter what their age or illness. The way these nurses spoke to this woman - "Are you alright! You're not are you? I'll take that handbag from you - you come and lie down, there's a good girl" and the tone used would be the same if it had been a six year old child with a gash in its leg, or a ninety year old with Alzheimer's. It's as if the section of NHS manual that deals with talking to
Patients simply says "one tone of voice covers all - you know what's best for them"

After a few minutes laid on the floor being fanned with a clipboard and still being patronised, the woman was helped up and led away to lie on a gurney and be patronised privately behind a screen. Besides, it was becoming apparent that the sight of a woman laying on the floor in obvious distress was quite off-putting for people coming in to donate.

Soon enough, my name was called (incorrectly), and I was taken to have a sample of my blood tested for its iron levels, and to run through the questionnaire I had filled out. I was prepared for this, as I had declared that I was taking eye drops (for my eyes). I had to explain that the drops I was taking had been checked by NHS Blood and Donation, and I had been told that I could donate blood whilst taking them. The nurse asked me why I was taking them, and I said it was because I have high pressure in my eyes, which could lead to Glaucoma. But I added that I didn't actually have Glaucoma - to which the nurse replied "I can see that - you have lovely, clear eyes"

I thought, 'hello - I'm in here!'

Sadly, I wasn't. But I was given the all clear to donate. So another nurse came and took me to donate. There was an open area with Gurneys scattered around - some with people on, some without. It looked like one of those emergency triage centres you see in disaster movies.

I hopped on a Gurney - and found large parts of me over hanging the edges. The Gurneys used are made for people of around 5'6" height, so I had an extra foot dangling off the end. It's hard enough to look graceful on a Gurney as it is, let alone when you overhang it!

Nonetheless, I was there to save lives, so after getting hooked up, my Donation started.
And about 5 minutes later, I was done. Apparently I have excellent veins and great blood flow. This may be perfect for blood donation, but it's a bit worrying when you're as clumsy as I am. With veins and blood flow like this, if I did cut myself badly I could quite conceivably bleed to death before I manage to get to the phone to call for help.

Still, I have done my good deed.

My second Sign Language assessment takes place on Monday the 12th March. This time around, I have to have a two way conversation about a specific topic. I can choose the topic from these three options:

• The Weather
• Describing my House
• What I do in my spare time

I've chosen to describe my house. The reason I've chosen this as my topic is because it is the most difficult, and it will test my descriptive and signing skills. I think being out of my comfort zone is a good thing, and I will enjoy testing myself. I know enough of the other topics already, but the one I have chosen will require more research and practice. If things are too easy, I can get complacent.

My plan is to work out what I want to say, and then practice how to sign it. I will still be expected to ask at least three questions of my assessor, and show comprehension of what she is signing.

I'm looking forward to it!!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Welcome To My Blog Jennifer, Impending Second Assessment......And Barry - The Mug Nobody Loves

Firstly, a shout out: Hello Jennifer, and welcome to my Blog. Let me take this opportunity to introduce you to my followers (and when I say followers, I mean people who follow my blog - not people who think I am some sort of messiah who will lead them to salvation, cups of tea, and Digestive biscuit), my regular readers, and random strangers from across the globe who somehow find themselves at my blog from time to time.

So, Jennifer - meet my audience. My audience - Jennifer.

Now already Jennifer, I can tell you that several assumptions would have been jumped to, all of which have a similar theme. Based on these assumptions, there will be three main notions rippling through the minds of my readers. These are:

• "Ooh, Larry has got himself a Girlfriend. About time too really - he is such a nice bloke, I'm glad he has finally met someone. Bless."

• "Larry has got himself a Girlfriend - it'll never last, She'll dump him sooner or later - they all do."

• "Dear god - he's trapped another one!"

So let me set you all straight: Jennifer is in my Sign Language class. She is a pensioner who enjoys reading, swimming, driving off road, and playing video games - Mario being a particular favourite.
Jennifer made the mistake of letting me talk about my Blog, and even asked for the web address. Which she is now regretting I would imagine.

Anyway - Jennifer, this is the type of drivel I write. It's pretty much like the drivel I spout during Sign Language.

Talking of Sign Language, the second of our three assessments for BSL 1 takes place in a weeks time, on Monday 12th March.

This time around we have to have a 5 minute, two-way conversation about a specific topic. We get to choose from three, and they are likely to be either Pets, Hobbies & Interests, or Family. The problem is, we don't yet know what the topics will be - we were hoping our tutor would find out by today and tell us tonight, but she hadn't. She said that she will check again tomorrow, and text us so can pick one.

Knowing my luck, the topics I'll get to choose from will be:

• Jaffa Cakes - Cake or Biscuit?
• The Global Financial Crisis
• Cubism is a metaphor for Society's failings - discuss.

An added pressure this time around will be the fact that our assessment will be video'd before being sent off to an external adjudicator. I suppose, if things are going badly, I could always trip over my chair or set my self alight and send the Video to "You've Been Framed" in the hope of making £250.

I'm sure it will be alright. It's up to me to practice and learn what I need to (once I know), so as long as I do that, I'll be okay.

And now for the silly portion of tonight's blog:

For Christmas this year I got from my Nephew a set of four mugs stacked together (see the picture below). Now I use these mugs all the time, and break them out whenever I have guests round. But I've noticed that I've never got to use them all, and the one at the bottom of the Stack - the red one called "Barry" - just doesn't get a look in.

All the other mugs have been used, and they all laugh at poor Barry, and call him names and tell him he smells. It must be quite a sad life for the Mug at the bottom of the stack.

I suppose I could rotate the colours in the stack, to ensure Barry gets to be used?

Naaah - too much like hard work.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

2 For 1 Blog - Part 2: Acceptable Extinction, and....There Is Always Time For A Snog.

The natural world is a beautiful and fragile place that we, as the most advanced and intelligent species on the planet, are systematically destroying day by day. Hundreds of species of plants and animals are on the verge of extinction.

But it's never the ones we can afford to lose, is it?

We've all seen the adverts - 'There are less than 300 Chinese Mountain Leopards left in existence. Please give £3 a month to adopt one, and help us save this beautiful creature. In return, you'll receive this fascinating fact sheet and glossy poster detailing this splendour of this animal. Plus, you'll receive this generic cuddly toy which vaguely resembles anything from a Chinese Mountain Leopard, to a Bottlenosed Dolphin - depending on which angle you hold it at. Not only that, but your adopted Leopard (which we've named "Chu-Cha" - because "Brian" just isn't cuddly enough) will actually write to you once a fortnight to tell you how he's getting on, and what animal he tore to shreds for his most recent meal. He'll even include photographs! So please give just £3 a month, and help Brian - I mean, Chu-Cha stay part of our wonderful world.'

It is a sad fact of life that many incredible animals will soon be gone.

But what about Sloths? They do absolutely bugger all. They hardly move, and spend virtually all their time sleeping. They move so slowly that algae actually grows on the fur of one type of Sloth. So would it really matter if Sloths became extinct? As far as I know, they do not have a Symbian (mutually beneficial) relationship with another animal, nor do they 'make' anything like Bees do. If they were to die out, it would mean a tiny bit more room for the rest of the animals in the rainforest.

And wasps - they could go as well. Wasps make nothing - no honey, no gravy, no pickle, nothing at all. As far as I know, they don't pollinate flowers, and they look a bit like a bee or a Hornet. They stripy, buzzy, sting you put of spite, things that wouldn't really be missed if they got wiped out.

It just seems to me that if sone animals are destined to go the way of the Dodo, it would be better if it was a few of the pointless ones. Like the Sloth, the Wasp - and the Flying fish. The Flying Fish exists only because Evolution changed its mind half way through: "I know, I'll give the fish extra large, wing-like fins so it can leap out of the water and 'fly'. Actually, that's a stupid idea - I'll leave it."

It's a sad irony that there are plenty of pointless animals, but it's the beautiful and unique ones that are in danger.

I'm a big film fan, but what irritates me more than anything else is the fact that in virtually every modern action or disaster movie, at some point in the film, there main man always finds time to get at least a snog (possibly more) in.

Their could be a huge bomb about to detonate in a city, but the hero still finds enough time to stick his tongue down the throat of his leading lady before saving the day. In real life, she wouldn't have let him anywhere near her until he actually had saved the day.

It is just ridiculous how fear of annihilation, or imminent death can be temporarily overridden by primal urges of the flesh. It would be more realistic if the hero made a move on the attractive piece of totty, but then found that he was unable to 'perform' because the massive Alien spaceship above the city was scaring the shit out of him, and 'Mr Happy'.

So come on Hollywood - make it more realistic!

2 For 1 Blog - Part One: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is, Talking Myself Into a Bad Mood, and A Grand Night Out

Firstly, let me apologise (again). For the third consecutive weekend I've been forced to write two Blogs on a Sunday.

This is because I have managed to be busy on each of the three past Saturdays, and have not had time to write my Blog on those days. I wanted to explain this to you, rather than have you think I am just being lazy.

Do you even care?

Right: Money. Specifically, bank notes. I'd like to hold a little Poll - not a little Pole, as cuddling native midgets from Warsaw is not my thing - to gauge your opinion on something. Let me give a scenario:

You are in a shop, buying something for £2.79. You hand over £10, and get £7.71 change - a £5 note, two £1 coins, a 20 pence, and a 1 pence piece. When your change is handed to you, the coins are sat on the note which is on top of your receipt.

You put the money away, but it's a bit fiddly - the coins go in the little coin section of your wallet / purse, and the notes go in another part. But you have to hold the wallet / purse open with one hand and then try to sort the money out. You could tip the coins into their compartment, but there is the danger of them getting away from you and falling on the floor. You really need to get rid of the note for a second so you can pick the coins up and put them in the compartment - avoiding the risk of spilling them on the floor.

Now in that situation, I take the note and hold it between my lips whilst I sort the coins and receipt out. It's only there for a couple of seconds - but do you think that is a bad thing to do?

I have a friend of mine who thinks that it is disgusting to put that note in my mouth (between my lips anyway). She cites the fact that the note has been handled by thousands of other people since it was printed, and therefore is covered in untold germs and miscellaneous bacteria.

Bacteria? Or Bacterium? Or Bacterii? What is the correct term for more than one bacteria? Is it like Octopuses - Octopi? Or is it like Sheep - Sheep? Answers on a petri dish please......

Anyway, is it dirty to put banknotes in your mouth, or is my friend being over sensitive? I mean it's not like I'm opening the door to leave the gents toilets with my mouth, is it? You know that moment when you grab the handle and it is wet - and a little piece of you dies inside.

And obviously, I only use my mouth to hold money when I absolutely have to, when I don't have a free hand. I don't choose to walk around with money hanging out of my mouth like a Starling with an earthworm.

So let me know what you think: Is it dirty, or is it okay? And how do you deal with that situation?

Incidentally, doesn't the phrase "Put My Money Where My Mouth Is" sound like the dying confession of a miser with a lisp, who reveals that he secretly kept his fortune in his pet's cage?

Yesterday, I started my day in a good mood - but managed to talk myself into a horrible mood. I got up fairly early and went on a 7 mile walk. I listened to music on my IPhone, and set off quite happily. The music on my IPhone is upbeat - a mixture of genres, but nothing too sad or depressing.

Now when I walk, I think about stuff, and talk things through with myself. Well somehow yesterday, by the time I got back home I was in a foul mood. I had talked myself into thinking that I didn't need anybody in terms of relationships, that I didn't have any real friends that would go out of their way for me in the way that I (imagined) I would for them. I also convinced myself that it would be easy for me to up and move out of Dorset and just leave everyone I know behind.

And in truth, these negative thoughts and feelings came from a combination of frustrations about my personal life, regrets about mistakes I've made in the past, and the fact that my feet were sore from all the walking.

Fortunately, I soon came to my senses, and my normal cheery, handsome and enigmatic demeanour returned. And not a moment too soon!

I went out last night (oooh! Get me!) for the first time in ages. It was a simple plan: Meet up some friends in the pub for a swift pint, and then back to my friend's house to watch the boxing. That was the plan.

Of course, plans go awry - and this one went gorgeously wrong. When we met in the pub there were a group of people from the village I used to live in there, celebrating one of their's Birthday. I did a lot of greeting, and catching up with folk, and it was really nice. Then some friends from the village I live in now turned up, and much laughter and general
fabulousness was had. In the end, we stayed in the pub much longer than expected, but then still went back to my friends house to watch the boxing which he had recorded.

I stayed their until about 1am, and then walked slightly wobbly back home. I had a very, very enjoyable evening in the company of some super gorgeous people.

Good times!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Never Mind Nutrition - How Long Can I Hold It For?......And Stress Induced Confectionary Hallucination


Everyone loves them. But do we really care how many calories each individual Malted Milk has? In truth, we don't want to know the nutritional content of a packet of Chocolate Digestives - or any biscuit for that matter. Once a packet of biscuits is opened, we are going to eat the entire packet. We don't do "have some now, then save the rest for later" - we prefer the "eat the lot now, and then consider having another packet". So it wouldn't matter if they put the Skull and Crossbones and the words "Danger of Death" on the packet - we'd still eat the lot.

What we want on a packet of biscuits is information that is useful to us, the consumer. Like how many seconds you can dunk the biscuit for before it falls into the brew. There should be a number on the packet that tells you how many seconds you can dunk for.

Of course, that number will vary from biscuit to biscuit; a Rich Tea biscuit will only be a few seconds, whilst a Hob Nob is liable to drink your brew for you - and then ask for another!

Also, having a recommended dunk duration limit (or "DDL") would inspire people to A) test it out, and B) try and beat it. This would instantly make tea or coffee drinking even more enjoyable and more sociable. This in turn, would increase sales of biscuits which would help the economy and in the end save the country.

A Knighthood? For me?

I was a little stressed earlier, after a few problems with my mobile phone, so I decided to have a cup of coffee. I put the coffee in the cup, poured the water on, and went to the fridge to get the milk.

And nearly ripped the door off.

I had no milk. The one, tiny little thing that would have soothed my stressful mind - and I didn't bloody have any. As I put my trainers on to go to the shops to get some, a voice whispered in my head:


As you know, I've been off the Chocolate this year - haven't had a single bit in 2012. But I still get the craving for it occasionally - especially when I'm stressed. As I walked to the shops, the voice in my head got louder, naming all of my favourite chocolate bars, and justifying why having some wouldn't hurt.

In the shop, I walked to get the milk - trying to ignore the chocolate bars that called out to me as I walked past like a man trying to ignore his ex-wife when he's out with his girlfriend. They shouted and whistled and called my name playfully as I paid for the milk - and the screamed abuse and insults as I left without looking at them. In hindsight, the packet of Rich Tea biscuits I also bought might have pissed them off a little.

By the time I got home, the voice in my head was sulking. As I poured the milk into my coffee, it uttered one last insult; "Loser".

And it was right - so far this year, without chocolate and with all the walking I am doing, I've lost half a stone.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Culinary Genius........and Concrete Eating Minions Of Satan!

I am a superhero.

Tonight I cooked Toad in The Hole from scratch - and it was a masterful success. As you can see from the picture below my batter rose fabulously.
The sausages I was using were Pork and Stilton sausages - another first for me - which came out beautifully and tasted great.
I also made my own Onion gravy. Which I am very pleased to say came out very well indeed.

So considering that It was my first attempt at that dish, I can confidently say that I excelled myself, and cooked really well.

Toad in the Hole will definitely be on the menu from now on!

Talking of eating - what the heck do Birds eat these days?
Whatever it is, it isn't berries and insects.
I went visiting friends tonight, but when I got to my car, I found vhalf the bonnet and half the windshield peppered with bird droppings.
I tried to get them off using the windscreen wipers, and then using an ice scraper, but it wouldn't come off. It had set like quick drying cement!

I will have to have a go at clearing this mess off my car this weekend - and remember to park my car away from trees if possible!