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Saturday, November 30, 2002

So, are you all amazed by the minute change I have made to the site? I can't begin to tell you how long that has taken me to do. If you don't know, check the comments, but don't you come round here with your new hairdo or clothing dropping hints that there's something different about you!

Had to go into Kingston (upon-Thames) today for the first time in months. Are they trying to stop people shopping there! I don't hink there is now anywhere within a mile of the centre where you can park for free. We used to park about half a mile away and walk in when we were going to be there all day but all those roads are now pay and display. Admittedly only 40p an hour but it's the principle. In the centre they are charging £1.60 an hour!

I guess I'm just being a typical Yorkshireman, (like a Scotsman with the generosity squeezed out of them, ) because even at £2.80 a day it's probably good vales, and the ice cream I bought cost £2.50, but then again, what are you going to spend the best part of £3 on, parking or ice cream. I ask you.

Hurrah. Feeling a bit more alive now. Less stress and less sore throat. And does anyone know where Karen's disappeared to? I can't remember whether she said this was going to happen or has she just disappeared off the face of the earth?

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Sorry about the lack of light hearted and amusing posts recently. I am presently posessed byEeyore. Hopefully normal service will resume as soon as possible. I need my doctor to presecribe a regular dose of Tigger pills.

Just as Scaryduck was musing about the present government I was sat in my car writing this.

I am old enough to have been politically aware at the time of the previous Labour government which ended in 1979. I remember what it was like to live with 20+% inflation and the "winter of discontent", a phrase that the present day media are bandying about again just because there is one strike on, pratts. I always thought that if Labour ever got in again I would emigrate but I have to say, whatever this government has done, and I'd be grateful to hear if this one has done anything yet, I may have missed it, at least Gordon Brown has kept a firm hand on the tiller and other such cliches, although todays news may not herald good news for the future.

I have nearly always voted Conservative, although sometimes I have favoured the Liberal (Democrats) party. I could no sooner vote for Labour than fly to the moon. I think it's the hypocrisy of Labour M.P.'s that has always got me. I know it's naive of me but I can't believe in a party that represents and fights for the rights of the less advantaged in society when they own more than one property, more than one vehicle and send their children to private schools. It isn't exactly standing shoulder to shoulder with ones fellow worker. I once picked up a young student who was hitch-hiking, it must be about 10 years ago. We were chatting and he said how if we could get rid of the Conservatives and get Labour into power they would do all sorts of stuff to help students. To start with, he must be bloody demoralised by now on that front, but, as he wanted dropping at a Tube station, I took him to Ealing and diverted via the house of the then leader Neil Kinnock. I showed him the house and mentioned the flat he also had in Central London and the house back in the constituency. It hadn't occured to the young lad that his glorious leader might have such a glorious lifestyle.

Now we have the government, and to be fair members of other parties, although the majority of m.p.s are on that side of the house, voting a number of priviliges for themselves that aren't open to others. Most people by now know of course that the 40% denied to the firemen just happens to equate to the same percentage that M.P.s voted for their own pay rise. Now I hear of another one. Watching Panorama the other night they were talking about the lack of financial rights for co-habitees when their partner dies. They mentioned that in the public sector a wife/husband gets their spouses pension should the ex-employee die but if their is only a co-habitting partner, of any duration, the pension dies with them. There is a thought that they might extend this to cover the non-married partners of some public servants, and surprise surprise, guess which public servants voted themselves to guinea-pig such a scheme. Yes, good guess, it's M.P.s.

Of course, the M.P.s had good reason to give themselves these benefits, firstly an independent body thought they merited the 40% wage increase so the majority felt duty bound to vote for it, and they happened to find some unused money within the system which could luckily be diverted for the pension scheme, whereas when one of the unions found some extra money and wished to use it that way, unfortunately there was something in the small print which said they couldn't.

Well, I for one will rest much easier in my bed knowing how our elected members are causing themselves such hardships to try and help us common people.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

I know I'm probably the last to catch on but I was speaking to someone today who mentioned Popstars - The Rivals when I suddenly realised why the boys group was called One True Voice. How soon before that's shortened to 1TV. Oh look, ITV.

No, surely I'm just too old and cynical to think that must be anything but a coincidence! Who can come up with a name for the girl group that results in ITV2 because I'll be surprised if the programme makers haven't.

Monday, November 25, 2002

I'm back, and with a further 3 counties to add to my expected list. I should have run a competition to see how much mileage I covered in 3 days. Just short of 1000 for the record. The cars now nearly as knackered as I am.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Last nights trip to Newmarket was for a party at my cousin Stephens. In fact it was at his work place, (the college in S*ham that was in the news stories this year). Along with the family were members of the various silver and brass bands that he and his immediate family have connection with, choral and musical societies they belong to, and memebrs of the college staff and the school where Anthea his wife is headmistress.

As you can tell, music is very important within their lives, as it is for all the members of the Kenna family, and it helps when it comes to large parties as the entertainment comes ready provided. The family formed a jazz quartet with different people singing, the bands played military music, traditional brass band music, plus a couple of "bierkeller" songs, my Uncle Don, now 74, played some sing-a-long old time numbers on the piano accompanied by various soloists and "the congregation", and everyone had to take a turn. Luckily time ran out before I got noticed but I'll not get away with it next time.

As I'm not certain they'll be able to play along to Eminem or Ian van Dahl I'll settle for something in an easy listening style. My preference will probably be, The Lady is a Tramp but perhaps another Sinatra song if not that one.

Bianca, my 12 year old niece went along, the first time she has ever met this side of our family. We weren't certain how she'd like it as it's so outside her normal realm of experience when it comes to parties, but she says she enjoyed it and as she is learning the piano she knows she might have to perform sometime. To be fair, she was more up for doing that last night than I was, and she now knows where her musical ability comes from. It finished about midnight before it degenerated into one of our families more outrageous musical escapades, one of the more memorable being my Grandma Kennas funeral, or at least the wake afterwards when at one point Uncle Don took to singing a selection of arias from Handels Messiah minus his false teeth wth beetroot juice poured down his chest.

Does your family excel at something, have strange parties, or do you have a party piece?

Friday, November 22, 2002

I'm in for a bit of a travelling time for the next few days. In the next 72 hours I think I will drive through at least 14 counties, the extremities of three seperate journeys being Salisbury, Newmarket and Pontefract. I might not get much time to post, certainly not till at least Sunday evening and possibly not until Tuesday. Rest assured however, that if I'm driving through your neighbourhood I will be giving you a cheery wave.

Following our glorious boys early attempts to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the manager, Duncan Fletcher, came up with this wonderfu quote;

Possibly on another occasion they will maybe bat more positively.

That's telling 'em Duncan. You can almost hear the Aussies quaking in their boots at the thought that when we have our second innings there is a remote possibility we might try a bit harder. But no promises mind!

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Forgive me father for I have sinned. In less than 24 hours I am addicted to Celebrity Big Brother. I can't stand the usual run of the mill ones because I have no interest in the people but I must admit to a curiosity of seeing how these celebrities get on and how normal they might be. Even more amazing is that Linda is enjoying it too.

How we cheered tonight at the "hook a duck" task. (Note to Mr. S. Duck; no ducks were harmed as far as could be told). We oohed and aahed as Goldie performed not 1 but 2 triple basket scoops. (You needed to have watched it to know, way too complicated to explain). And I've already checked what times they are showing stuff tomorrow on terrestrial t.v.

It is only by a matter of sheer will power that I have not signed up for the e-mail service to be kept continually updated with every minor occurrence of our six gallant competitors. Somebody. please help me!

Not bothered either way about last nights t.v. autopsy but on Radio 4 this morning someone made an interesting point. They mentioned that the papers in general have been having a go about how it was disrespectful to the deceased, this from a news media that has front page photos of dead people who have been shot, burned, murdered with no regard to the relatives and a general tendency to pry into any area of a persons life that they feel inclined to.

Still, just another rant against our wonderful British press who only have double standards because they haven't worked out how to have triple ones yet.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Graybo partook of a Belgian bun this very morning. Does anyone know whether Belgian buns originated in Belgium or is there another reason.

How strange. Concorde took off over our place this evening, the first time I've ever known that to happen in the 32 years it's been flying. It doesn't bother me, I just wonder why?

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

For those of us who grew up in the sixties and seventies there was one thing that tied every visit to the cinema together, The Pathe Film News. The music over which a cockerel crowed was as familiar as the strains of the Pearl and Dean advertising signature tune. The pathe news was by that time getting superfluous to requirements as most households were getting television and were able to see the news in their homes, but prior to that this was the nations big chance to see pictures of news events from around the world.

Now they have their entire archive on the website for viewing, even offering higher quality feeds for those who want to include them in powerpoint presentations. A rather forward thinking proposal for a particularly old company. As well as the black and white footage you also get to hear the wonderfully clipped tones of the reporters.

My connection, (28kbps), will probably make it impossible to download them with any great success but if I get my hands on a machine running broadband I'll have a few enjoyable hours watching news from my youth and the big events of the 20th century.

Monday, November 18, 2002

I'm sure I've mentioned before that there is this guy who has set up his own window business and wants Kev & I to take it over. We have been looking at it and doing a bit of half-hearted selling for him so we could take a look at the workings. To date he hadn't been very committal on anything but then again he probably hadn't felt we had been either but today he told us he's looking to be out of it by next March. All of a sudden, because there is now a date to look forward to it seems more attractive.

There is a lot of potential in the company and we feel we could make something of it. There is also another attraction to it that would be a first for me in 10 years and 15 years for Kev, a regular income. Having worked on commission only for so long the thought of having a guaranteed income each week seems like heaven.

There's still a great deal to iron out, get sorted legally, and it won't make any difference to our plans on our own company. In fact eventually we will look at this becoming part of the D3sk B empire. Kev has always been the more enthusiastic about us but I must admit the chance to go back into a management situation with staff under me, even if it is only 3, is quite exciting. I'd have probably died of boredom if I'd ever stayed in banking or insurance but I miss office work as an entity.

I shall have to think of a code name for the project so I can talk about it in safety. Then again, perhaos there's just too much James Bond Mania going on at the moment.

Linda has a problem with her laptop. Whenever she turns it on the error message "operating system not recognised" appears. According to the manual this can be caused by a conflict in the BIOS settings and when she follows the given remedy to revert all settings to the factory settings it sorts it out. All except it doesn't change the settings and it happens again the next time she starts it if it is over 24 hours later.

O.K. you brainy lot, any suggestions?

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Everything is rushed at the moment, no matter what the present task is it should have been done at least an hour ago. Hopefully things will slow down in the next 48 hours but certainly tomorrow doesn't look promising.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

I heard Kylie MInogue being interviewed the other day and she was talking about how she's expected to be in two or three different places at once, a bit like the rest of us. She was saying that whilst she was in another part of Europe her sponsors, Ford Motor, wanted her to fly into Spain for a shooting session with one of their cars during a week where she had concerts every night. She asked if she could make it another day in the following week but they refused as they said it was the only model of that car about and they can't be flying it here there and everywhere. She pointed out that it didn't seem to occur to them that there was also only one Kylie.

Fair point. So it's not just us lot who are taken for granted then!

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Kev received a letter today fom his insurance company about his lapsed household insurance. It read as follows;

Your home is currently unprotected against fire, flood, storm or theft by MBNA Home Insurance.

I don't think they quite meant it like it reads.

Monday, November 11, 2002

I have a question for you all, testing your knowledge of books, film, music and musicals.

I caught the last 20 seconds of Sleepy Hollow this evening. In virtally the last line of the film Johnny Depp uses the phrase "The Bronx is up and The Battery's down". There is a musical which contains a song for which the lyrics are
New York, New York, it's a wonderful town,
The Bronx is up and The Battery's down,
New York, New York

Questions to answer are;
1) Is the last line of the film also in the book on which it is based, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?
2) If not, is it a "clever" reference to the song put there by the director, scriptwriter whoever for their own amusement?
3) If it is in the book, did the songwriter lift it from the book?
4) Out of interest does anyone know which musical the song comes from, because if there is a link between the two knowing the chronology of which came first will help solve the problem.

I bet I don't get an answer to this one on a hurry!

Sunday, November 10, 2002

I'm not certain that schadenfreude is exactly right for the circumstances I find myself in. Certainly I am amassing a great deal of pleasure from the events although I am going to be affected by the fall out. Certainly if I wasn't heading towards being solely involved with my own company I might be more worried.

What's happening is, that within the lot I am just leaving, whom I don't want to name in case they googlesweep, (3verest is close enough), the management on the sales side appear to have completely lost the plot, big time. They have put into motion schemes over the last few months, although the roots go back a couple of years, which are beginning to backfire. For every thing that goes wrong one way they try to compensate by moving to the other extreme, this rocks the boat even more and they overcompensate back the other way. The boat is now rocking to such a degree that an eskimo roll of gigantic proportions looks inevitable.

It's a bit like watching a tidal wave coming towards you but not moving because you're fascinated by it. Lucky I have my lifejacket ready.

You know you have days when everything seems to be going on about you but you're totally detached from it. Well I feel like that at the moment. Somedays I just can't get my head on straight.

Friday, November 08, 2002

I'm doing the Friday Five in honour of our very own Gert who supplied the questions.

1. Did you vote in your last elections?

Yes, national and local.

2. Do you know who your elected representatives are?

Yes Nationally, and I know the political make-up locally but not their individual names.

3. Have you ever contacted an elected representative? If so, what was it about?


4. Have you ever participated in a demonstration?

Not a mass demonstration. I once held a one man demo.

5. Have you ever volunteered in an election? What was the result?

No. Political stability was maintained.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Looking at the night sky just now reminded me that it's time to be a complete space cadet and start watching for iridium flares now we have dark evenings. Kids (of all ages) tend to find it fascinating wathcing for the flares that last just a few seconds and knowing it's off a satellite in space. If you want to amaze your kids, grandkids, go to the heavens above site and you too can be stood outside in the freezing cold one evening soon.

It contains other astronomical data plus positions of the satellites that have now left our solar system. Voyager 1 is now over 8,000,000,000 miles from Earth. That's further than Inverness!

I just nipped out for half an hour and my god it's cold.

I've not posted one of these for a few days.

#6 - I took 9 O'levels and got 1!

Thanks to my mum I was able to read and write before I joined infants school at just over 4 years old. How enjoyable school is when you are one of the best at doing things.

Things still went well through junior school and I passed my 11+ exam so well that it got me into Ealing Grammar. It was then that things started to go a little awry.

I don't know why it all went pear shaped. Well I do really, and being a lazy sod who never revised and never pushed himself probably accounts for a great deal. At the time however I was "in denial". My grandma had died when I was 15, the year before my o'levels. I had to go into hospital for an operation whilst the mock O' Levels were being taken. There were other, less likely reasons as well, but in the end the school put me forward to take exams in 9 subjects. I doubt I could name all of them now but they were all the mainstream ones.

I can't say I was looking forward to getting the results, I knew I probably wasn't going to get the lot, maybe not even the majority, but 3 or 4 would have sufficed. The envelope turned up and I uncovered the truth. Apparently the markers for the exams had kept all the F and H grades, (the failure letters), just for me. How kind! I didn't get geography which I though I would walk. I didn't get maths which was a bit of a shock. One of the most amazing results was my French exam. I got C, the second highest grade, for the oral exam and H overall. The only way to have managed that was to have spelt my name wrong on the exam sheet!

What did I get? English. And to this day I'm surprised. Not because I thought I should fail, it was one of my better subjects, but the essay I wrote was diabolical. It was one of those ones where they gave you a picture and you could write whatever you were inspired to write. The picture was of an abandoned rowing boat on a lake. My story told of a female occupant of that boat diving into the water only to have her skull smashed on a hidden underwater concrete post. Somewhat unlucky when her boyfriend had been killed only that morning when a bag fell off the top bunk bed in the room onto his head just as he was shaving with a cut throat razor!

There are only two explanations for getting the pass mark. A) They couldn't face ever having to mark such an atrocious essay ever again. B) They were afraid that the psychopath who wrote it might come after them if they dared to fail him!

I got a couple more on my retakes, and to be honest it never really bothered me that I'd done so badly. I left school at a time of full employment and just went straight into a job with a bank but it hit my dad pretty hard. He lost the chance to boast about his sons achievements when his colleagues were boasting about theirs. He didn't speak to me for over a fortnight.

I wanted to donate a new prize at school for the pupil who managed to fail the most O'Levels in one go but they weren't impressed. I hadn't fulfilled the promise of my education and gone to university. And for a grammar school kid that was much more serious than murder.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

It looks like a spoof but isnt. Haynes issue a "car" manual for men.

Expect this to be a big seller this Christmas.

So as the lights dim once more on Blackpools Illuminations I'll end this years festivities with the unveiling of the official 2002 Blackpool photo.

A photo showing the types of ne'er-do-wells who inhabit Blackpool in the Autumn months

Those appearing are, from left to right, J.C., just completeing his 20th annual visit, Kev "Why is my head 3 times the size of hers?", Sandra, who runs a pub somewhere near Hull, and yours truly, looking smiley for Karen but without the "kiss me quick hat" as requested by Lynn.

Only 49 weeks and 2 days to go till next visit.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

I bought the new David Gray c.d. today. On first hearing, and there only has been one hearing so far it sounds as though these were the hidden 12 tracks from White Ladder. There is no mistaking this is David Gray. After a few plays it will probably grow on me but the obvious track to be a hit if there is going to be one is "Be Mine".

Whether it will stay in the c.d. multi stack will depend on the next few listens.

The 12 that I presently have in there are;

  1. Hell Freezes Over : The Eagles

  2. O.K. Computer : Radiohead

  3. Just Enough Education to Perform : The Stereophonics

  4. Survivor : Destinys Child

  5. Ace : Ian Van Dahl

  6. M!ssundaztood : Pink

  7. White Ladder : David Gray

  8. Ray of Light : Madonna

  9. The Marshall Mathers L.P. : Eminem

  10. The Eminem Show : Eminem

  11. 18 : Moby

  12. A New Day at Midnight : David Gray

Monday, November 04, 2002

Farewell Lonnie Donegan.

Whilst I'm not old enough to remember his hits is real time they were still played on the radio regularly when I was young and it was he, along with The Barron Knights, that got me interested in comedy. Lonnies hit My Old Man's A Dustman introduced me to musical comedy and during one interlude between verses that old favourite joke

I say, I say, I say. My dustbins full of toadstools.
How do you know it's full?
Because there's not mushroom.

Powerful and extremely funny stuff to a seven year old.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

For those who've followed the occasional updates regarding my cousin Mark and the attack he suffered at the New Year, the final part has just been played out.

Details of the court case and sentences are here along with some of the past history. It has cleared up some of the details we weren't privy to prior to the case.

Mark has just started to be able to take a few steps but will never have full mobility again. Mark got to meet Roberts father at the trial and they will keep in touch, more for Marks benefit than the fathers I suspect.

And so it ends, at least as far as this chapter goes. It won't of course ever end for Mark and his immediate family or for the family of Robert Hanson.

So as I drift further away from my loyal readership with news of my cheesephobia I can be pretty certain no-one else will share the following in common with me. (I'm not bothering with number 4).

#5 - The first single I ever bought was Rock & Roll Parts 1 & 2 by Gary Glitter.

I was 15 at the time, somewhat later in life than most people I knew to be buying their first pop record but for the previous few years when I might have been buying them I was totally into classical music.

Anyway, I'd heard this record on the radio and decided I wanted it, although I have no idea why as I can think of much better records that were out at the time, however, I digress, as Ronnie Corbett would say. I go to buy this single and head for my local record emporium, Bensteads in West Ealing. As I approach the counter I suddenly realise I have no idea what to ask for. I know the name of the song but not what you call the record itself, so I plump for the descriptions that I'd heard of before, some 6 or 7 years before.

"I'd like an e.p. please" says I. "Sorry?" comes the reply from the bloke behind the counter with a bemused look on his face. I realise my mistake and make an embarrassed adjustment. "A 45 please". "A 40 what?.... Oh, you mean a single!".

At this point I am trying to manoveur my 6 foot frame into a small crack in the counter to avoid all the people, but especially the girls, staring at the alien who doesn't know what a single is. I mutter the title of the song and, for what was I think, the princely sum of 75p, was furnished with the first release by the aforementioned Mr Glitter.

I should like to think that I then drew myself up to my full height and left the store with head held high, but almost definitely I left trying to contract my head down into my shirt collar, possibly the green, purple and black vertical striped shirt with matching horizontally hooped tank top, avoiding the eyes of any female I might ever meet again.

It wasn't the last single I bought, but I never bought many more. I stuck to L.P.'s, I knew where I was with L.P's.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Two more new blogs listed.

A Large Mango
Yorkshire Soul

I used to keep the list running for just those sites I read daily but it's too large for that now, not without getting a 9-5 job with internet access so I can spend all day reading and being paid for the pleasure. That came out almost bitterly didn't it? I might split it into sections or I might not. The world is my oyster.

Damn, I've woken up this morning with a sore throat. Hopefully it will just disappear as a sore throat when you eat as much as I do is a real bind.

Our meeting earlier today went well, if we get the contract we'll earn well out of it. We'll see. If we do I won't have to post about it here as you'll here the whoop of delight around the world. It will also be made public by my mortgage company holding street parties to celebrate me paying off some arrears.

One of the best bits of the meeting was something our contact said. He is a resident at the block of flats which are situated on Sloane Street in Knightsbridge, a somewhat desirable address in anybodys books. However, he was saying how the landlords had neglected the upkeep a few years back and it had got a bit slum like and he felt it was going the same way now. He has an interesting view on what slums are then! Some of the shops within 50 yards of his door are, (and I can't be bothered finding the links, my guess is just add .com), Bulgari, Hermes, Chanel, Max Mara, Armani, Harvey Nicholls, Lalique and Cartier. Perhaps a cut above the normal shops one sees in your average slum site!

Friday, November 01, 2002

Today consisted of;

Preparing a booklet for a presentation tomorrow/later today.
The Great Nail Varnish Remover Disaster
Crispy Chicken, Waffle and Peas
Two damn fun games of snooker. 1-1

And now Number 3.

#3 - I hate cheese.

I hate cheese. In fact I'm not a lover of any dairy products unless it's in the form of ice cream or a thick milkshake. As far back as I can remember I hated milk. At school we had a free gill of milk each morning break as part of the governments plan to build a nation of healthy young things. I hated the taste, the runniness, it would be sour in the summer and that led me to hating yoghourt, cream, and worst of all cheese.

It must run in the family, neither my father nor his before him liked cheese, my brother couldn't stand it, and my poor old Mum who would love the idea of some was banned from bringing it into the house.

I remember school dinners consisting of grated cheese and once being told I had to eat it all and even now, just short of 40 years later I can still taste it.

My mother did discover however that I liked Dairylea cheese, although only in sandwiches and it had to have Heinz tomato sauce on it as well to mask the taste, but it least there was the chance to get some calcium into me. Things didn't get better as I grew older. Sometime after my parents split up in the seventies I went to my dad's for dinner and he cooked a steak and kidney pie that the woman who cooked for him had left. It can't have been in the oven more than 5 minutes before Dad, my brother and me all started sniffing the air. We could smell cheese. We couldn't touch the pie and it turned out she'd used a cheese pastry. She didn't do that again.

Things have changed though, I now eat Pizza Hut pizzas, although nobody elses, and whilst I originally ate them without the cheese I now enjoy them, although I should think most people probably find them bland if I can eat it. My dad started with stress diabetes a few years back and woke up one day with an uncontrollable urge to eat cheese, and so he does, but only blue cheese. How weird is that! My brother however remains a cheese free-zone.