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Saturday, August 30, 2003

Boys will be boys.

As part of my mad push to complete a total of 100 geocaches by tomorrow, my second anniversary of finding my first cache, I went to look at the guns outside The Imperial War Museum.

Weighing 100 tons each and able to fire a shell 18 miles, the most accurate naval guns ever built, they were pretty impressive. Despite years of trying to instill the principle of emasculating boys so they aren't "warmongers" every young lad that walked up and saw them was enthralled. Questions streamed from their lips, and proud fathers and grandfathers encouraged them.

I guess it's a guy thing, but you can't help but be impressed with them. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near them when they were going off nearly 100 years ago, I've fostered the art of cowardice too long to change now, but they set off a frisson of excitement when you're close by.

Then again, I'm completely impassive to seeing a pair of Jimmy Choos latest creations, and I know girls who have palpitations at the very thought of seeing them in the flesh, let alone wearing them.

I guess it's just horses for courses, it that isn't too many metaphors for just one post.

Friday, August 29, 2003

It's the final lot of lyrics to identify. They cover the 90s to the present day. The last one I can sing, but don't know the title or the artist which is rather annoying. And for those who didn't see yesterdays there are still two to get.

1) Lost in the Milky Way, smile at empty sky.

2) Haa ooh, my love she throws me like a rubber ball.

3) Save me from drowning in the sea, put me up on the beach.

4) I've know a few guys who thought they were pretty smart.

5) Like pebbles on a beach, kicked around, displaced by feet.

6) I'm tired of telling the story, tired of telling your way.

7) I hate the rain and sunny weather and I hate the beach and mountains too.

8) Wake up kids, we've got the dreamers disease.

I've a feeling some of these are pretty easy and I'll kick myself.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

....and now it's the three missing answers for the 80's.

I don't want half-hearted love affairs.

Inside everyone hides one desire, outside no-one will know.

Hey little sister, what have you done.

Tomorrow there'll be the 90s to present day and there's 8 of them!

The funeral is on Monday. Kev is intent on going although he only met Mary a couple of times. Karen, and particularly Andy, could really do without him going and diverting their attention from the main focus of the day. I need to find a way to convince him not to go. The way he is at the moment there's no way of knowing how he'll take it. And that's the problem in a nutshell. Everyone has to be so careful with him at the moment and for Karen, that's the reason he can't be there. He'll know nobody else there and she won't have time for him.

Hopefully he'll be having a good day today.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Linda has been watching That'll Teach 'Em. I've only seen bits but, although it was 20 years later, I can still see lots of my education in there and also the attitude of the teachers is surprisingly familiar!

In one of the earlier ones I understand that some of the pupils were questioning the rigidity of the discipline, and what use was it. Well, I can answer that for you.

At 9:45 this morning, Kev and I appeared at Chippenham Magistrates Court on a motoring offence. We'd seen the duty solicitor before we went in just to go over a couple of points and be told what to expect. Whilst not going into what it was here, we were both pleading guilty with mitigating circumstances. (No other people were involved so it wasn't an accident or anything). I rarely wear a suit these days, often a shirt and tie, but rarely the whole hog, but today I was togged out in my full glory. During the hearing I was respectful, called the two female Magistrates Ma'am when addressing them and toed the line exactly as one would have when up before the headmaster at school. Our licences now has six points on each of them, and we had to have that as it's the minimum score for the offence. We had discussed what fine we would consider as a "win" and £200 for Kev and sub £300 for me was going to be acceptable.

We were given conditional discharges for 6 months. As long as we don't commit an offence during that time we will not be fined.

Following us were three young men on another driving offence who appeared wearing football shirts and jeans, except for the one wearing football shorts. You'd have thought somebody might have advised them about wearing something more suitable, but then their parents weren't any more formally dressed than that.

Should it make a difference? Probably not, but it does. Maybe one day it will change and showing respect won't mean a jot but it does now. There were mitigating circumstances but the duty solicitor did tell us we'd be fined as well. Maybe we should have been. I don't see it as "getting away with it", but I do think that years of learning to be polite, respecting authority, and being presentable was paid back today.

We couldn't be seen in public in our school uniforms without being reminded we were "ambassadors for the school and we should act as such". My headmaster is long gone, but hopefully he would have thought that I'd at least learned something from all his ministrations.

Today I bring you the lyrics for the songs from the 70s that I didn't recognise. Help put me out of my misery.

1) I met a devil woman, she took my heart away.

2) Ohoho, let me tell you now, when I had you to myself I didn't want you around.

3) I'm, I'm so in love with you, whatever you want to do is alright by me.

I know I know the last one and it's really bugging me.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

I took part in a music quiz recently where you had to spot the song and artist from the first lines. There were 25 question for each of the 60s, 70, 80s and 90s to present day. I expected to do worst with the 60s but it ended up being my best. The only one I couldn't get was

What you want baby, I got it, what you need, you know I got it.

Anybody recognise it? I'm sure I do but I just can't get it. If you're good I might let you have a go at the rest I didn't get. Can't say fairer than that!

Kev mentioned today he is going down to West Wittering, a place that holds terror for me to my very depths. When I say West Wittering to be fair it might have been East Wittering, and I also thought it was in Kent until I just saw now it was in Sussex. But other than that, it is indeed a place that holds terror etc. etc. etc.

When I was in the Scouts and a woggle polisher of the highest order, (yes, sorry if you are involved in the movement, I know I'm pandering to a misconception of modern Scouting), we went on a camp to one of the Witterings. Perfectly nice place, up on the cliffs. overlooking possible Chichester Harbour or maybe any other bit of sea off the South Coast. Perfectly nice that is until dusk! After a hard days bivouaccing and making oak leaf fags. (Take one page of a comic, roll into a cylinder, stuff full of oak leaves, set fire to far end whilst puffing on it like a cigarette, watch whilst smoker erupts into coughing and flames, say what good fun it is), we would have a game of Five to Fifty-a-side. As dusk fell, all of a sudden there would be a beating of wings and from out of the gloom hundreds of bats would come swooping and banging into stationery objects and screaming Scouts from the city. God, how I hated them. Every night would be the same. Once we got used to it we would try to hit the bastards with staves but we were as useful when it came to bats as the present England cricket team.

To this day, I cannot stand anything that flies being near me. Well, flies are o.k. and so are wasps and bees although annoying, but moths and a rarely sighted bat send me running for cover. I obviously have thingsthatflynearmeophobia or whatever the correct name is and I think it stems from that camp. So I have a deal with Linda. I remove the spiders and she removes the moths and peace can carry on uninterrupted.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

On a sad note, I heard from one of my best friends that his father died a couple of weeks back from a heart attack. Then tonight, Karen rang to say that Mary, her other halfs mother, had finally succumbed to the injuries she received in the car crash a few weeks back, and died at 6:15 this evening. She had done an amazing job at fighting for this long considering the quite extensive injuries she had received, but when they had seen her last week they could tell that she was tired of fighting it, and yesterday, major organs started to "shut down" so it came as no immediate surpirse that she passed away today.

Both Johns dad, and Andys mum, were in their 70s, not a particularly old age these days, but a good life span all the same, and whilst some people lose their parents at a much earlier age there is never a good time for your mum or dad to die.

I know one day I shall have to lose my mum, and I can't even contemplate that, but it is right that that should happen because the alternative is that they lose their child, and no matter how old we are, we are always their child. And how much more painful must that be, than what we as the children face.

I know I ranted some time ago about Abbey National turning themselves back into C18 coffee houses, but on chatting with my bank today I discovered that the entire industry is going backwards.

When I worked in the banking industry on leaving school, if you had one of your cheques paid in on a monday it came out of your account on a wednesday, and if you paid a cheque into your account, it would be credited on Thursday. The reason it took a day longer in the 70s was that the computer systems were able to autoread the numbers that run along the bottom of the cheques which have the amount inserted after the cheque goes over the counter, but could not do so with credit slips which had to be hand punched. Even if a cheque cleared on a Wednesday, technically a bank could bounce that cheque up to mid-day on Thursday. It did sometimes happen, but not often, and therefore customers weren't penalised by having to wait an extra day.

I've known for some time that some banks seemed to take until the Friday to clear your credits but hadn't realised it was industry wide. I understand that the banks had the rules changed so that they had an exra day to bounce cheques and therefore they had to build in an extra days clearing on credits. Funnily enough, there hasn't been a need to see an extra days delay in taking money out of your account.

So we are now in a situation where it is slower to clear credits than 25 years ago, despite newer technology. Of course, this all means that banks are complaining about how much more expensive the extra days clearing time is although, funnily enough, they don't seem to be placated that they have an extra 24 hours where the money "belongs" to them for which they receive interest. Not of course that that could have been the real reason for extending the clearing time!

O.K. Banking rant number two ends.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Shock, horror!

Davros, leader and creator of the daleks, has been playing Mike Tucker in The Archers.

Two very different rolls for the actor Terry Molloy.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

I received a book today from the daughter of my mums best friend, Donna, whom was also bridesmaid at my wedding due to the fact she had been inconsolable that I hadn't married her. She was only 10, but obviously had good taste! The book is A History of Fielding School where I went both to infants and junior school.

You'll be pleased to know that I'm not going to regale you with hundreds of stories about my schooldays, I'd only come off second best to Scaryduck, but a quick dip in has shown up three things of interest with relation to today.

The school opened on 7th September 1954 and suffered it's first break-in 8 months later, and a second some 7 months after that. So obviously the fifties weren't such a safe place where you could leave your door open all day because there weren't any burglars.

In March 1957 a measles epidemic went through the school. By the eighth week attendance was down from 233 to just 135. An example of why immunisation of children for measles is important.

Political correctness was obviously just coming in, as the initially named "Retarded Group" became the "Special Group".

I'm going to enjoy reading through it, as it contains information that I will remember such as school trips, nativity plays etc., but also because it will put some of the social history right into my life which I've never considered before. I suppose I've always thought school centred around the children but already those few bits and forward notice of new education policies and redundancies raise their heads.

And if they don't mention that I held the school record for the standing broad jump for 25 years, (yes, I had left by then), I shall write and complain that they've missed by far the most important event in the schools history.

Friday, August 15, 2003

The puzzle donkey is proving to be rather exasperating. There are those who have completed about 80 of them and I'm stuck on number 6.

I've just been and checked out the death clock for no other reason than I just saw the link on Master of the House. Apparently I'm going to be good until October '44. That will make me almost 88!.

Sod it, now I'm going to have look at getting a pension.

....and just as you thought it couldn't get any worse, Karen has had to shoot off to Bristol as her prospective mother-in-law has taken a turn for the worse following her major car accident. Worse as in, "can the family get here in the next half hour".

I am now head cook and bottle washer, director and dogsbody. I am coping well by running round shuting, "Don't panic, Captain Mainwaring" a la Corporal Jones.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Kev isn't improving at the moment. He has good days, but on his bad days he is definitely paranoid. The most frustrating thing is the attitude of the health service.

Considering we are two years after his original breakdown, he has still not been given a key worker, which he should have had at breakdown 1. Karen has been most affected by this second one as she didn't really see him when he had the first, so it's a bit more worrying/frightening/exasperating for her. She has been pushing for about a week to get him seen, a job that Kev's wife should be doing, except it's better for her agenda if he doesn't get better, or at least not too quickly. He will see someone tomorrow and we'll know a bit more then, if only about the H.A.s attitude.

Last week they promised to phone him everyday. That lasted two days before it stopped. When you are suffering from paranoia, what does that tell you. And it doesn't seem to have occurred to them that it might affect him. What took the biscuit today was a comment that one of the health workers made to Karen. K was explaining that one of his latest worries is that Andies church are bugging his telephone at home, somewhat unlikely unless they have become The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Secret Agents. The nurse that Karen was speaking to, on being informed of his latest paranoid thought, replied, "Well, stranger things have happened". It doesn't exactly fill one with confidence that he's going to get good treatment, however, we'll know soon enough.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

How embarrassing!

I just looked at my archives for August to see if I'd posted about something and discovered that my front page actually still has entries for July on it. I must be working too hard!!

Actually, it the unavailability of being abe to post something when I think about it. I really ought to try out wapblogger or whatever it's called. But first, I guess I need to sort out the internet connection for my phone which doesn't seem to work at all.

I heard a news story earlier today, (can't find a link anywhere), that there is a shoretage of 380,000 builders to cover incoming work for the next 5 years. Whilst that figure seems rather high, about 1 builder for every 150 of the population, there is certainly a shortage.

If anyone in the south-east can't decide what to do as a job then the building trades seem to be a licence to print money. Any builder of any worth is booked up from now till kingdom come, and they don't do too badly on the money front either. I've yet to find a builder who doesn't live in a big house!

So, if you're a parent and your kid doesn't know what to do, I'd advise you point him in the right direction. Sure, being a builder may not bring you the same cache of saying "my son the doctor", but he'll probably earn a sight more money!

Sunday, August 10, 2003

So we finally have the record temperature. I was interested to know what would happen when the external temperature exceeded that of my blood. I was pretty certain I wasn't going to spontaneously combust and as of this moment I am still in one piece. Anybody know what physiological effects you get when it becomes much higher than blood temperature?

It's good to know that even in the middle of a heatwave there are still those who uphold good British tradition. This morning when I called at our newsagent, a customer of around 60 came out. He was wearing a shirt, shorts and tennis shoes, and of course, a vest! Old habits die hard.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Are you brave enough to take on the mighty Puzzle Donkey?

Friday, August 08, 2003

So whilst Graybo recently flew out on business to Santa Barbara and Sacramento I have a day out up the A12 in Ipswich.

I'm sure this isn't how it's meant to be.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

You know you're living in 2003 when............... no. 835

You visit the Ivor the Engine website and are surprised to find the link to wallpaper is about the stuff that actually goes on walls rather than desktops!

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I've just taken the test to find out What's My Driving Alter Ego. Apparently, ambitious. The following is the description and to be fair it sums me up pretty well, particularly those bits that concentrate on driving.

It doesn't matter if you're running a classroom, a marathon, or for political office. To you, life is a race and you pride yourself on staying ahead of the pack or at least being involved in many of them. Yep, you're an ambitious one, all right. Throughout life, you were probably the first to raise your hand in class, the first to ask for a raise, or the first to jump into that lake for a moonlight, summer swim. And when you're driving, you're probably equally ambitious, finding new ways to get out of a traffic jam, always searching for a quicker route home from work, or crafting your way through a maze of freeways with impeccable precision and style. For you, the open road is filled with new victories to be won — causes to become a part of. Of course, being such a fearless leader involved in so many organizations can spread your time a little thin. But do you worry? No! You're too busy forging new alliances, finding new mountains to climb, and new paths to conquer.

I noticed in Tescos earlier today that they have taken to sticking a review over the cover picture of Irvine Welsh's book, Porno.

Maybe it's happening elsewhere but I haven't noticed it yet. It is certainly noticeable and I would have thought. more likely to draw the attention of those it is supposedly trying to protect. I can't see what the fuss is about though. As far as I know, kids don't routinely get into a discussion regarding the artistic merits of book covers. I should have thought that if they are old enough to know what it is, then it doesn't need censoring, and if they are not old enough to know they are unlikely to ask about it.

It just seems like a case of politically correct censorship to me.

P.S. They didn't feel the need to censor the pictures of Kylies backside which were all over the front pages of this mornings papers.

Not having read loads of other sites tonight there's probably tons posted about The Kelley/Mitty faux pas. It seems to me that there are two things that might have happened.

Firstly, so much government information is leaked via the press, (are they leaks now or the usual way to launch policy?), that journalists are confused as to when "This is off record" means "this is off record" rather than "this is off record, nudge, nudge, wink, wink". Thus they have been bitten on the hand that does the feeding.

The other alternative is that senior politicians/advisers/etc haven't quite grasped the idea that when you are the government, nothing is off record if it's going to make a good story, i.e. one that can be used against you. That's the difference between government and opposition.

Whatever the 46 year old equivalent of having nappy rash is I appear to have it.

Sorry, probably too much information. (And certainly too much irritation!!!).

Saturday, August 02, 2003

I was watching a little girl today of about 3, maybe 4. She was at the entrance to a shop and playing with an inflatable punch bag which tipped over and then righted itself, somewhat like Weebles for those old enough to remember them. When she started she couldn't hit it straight enough but soon developed a particularly fine right hook which not only laid it down but stuck it there. She was immensely pleased with this feat and after righting it on each occasion proceeded to repeat it.

All I could think about was that some bloke had better watch what he's doing with his hands when she's older otherwise he's in for a nasty surprise!