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Saturday, November 29, 2003

Kev and I went to Windsor today. The Queen didn't appear to be in so we didn't call at the castle. We were really just grabbing something to eat and our appetites were whetted by the fact there was a French Market going on in the station concourse. The one thing you can say about the French is they know how to set out a food stall. There were probably a good dozen and covered charcuterie, patisserie, a biscuitier, a choclatier and a stall which sold only olives, (if the owner was called Laurence would that have made him Laurence Olivier?), and if you're into olives you need to get there quick. I can't stand them but they had loads of different sorts and these were large, juicy, plump, ripe varieties, some stuffed with other items, some just in their natural state, I must admit even I was tempted. One stall which sold only sausages had a plate of tasters for every variety, not like over here where you get one sort grudgingly offered if you ask for it. The pates looked mouthwatering and a stall selling only garlic and onions had a good variety for the chefs among us. There was also a creperie, and a rather nice coconut and chocolate one could be had for just £2.

The bargain of the day though had nothing to do with the market, where we ate, or any of the tourist attractions. The bargain of the day was to find somewhere you can park for free just 5 minutes walk from the castle. And no, I'm not telling you where it is!

T Mobile have decided it was time I upgraded my mobile which I'd been planing to do for some time, I've been waiting for the launch of the Sony Ericsson Z600 and finally it's arrived in the shops. It should be here in a few days time and then I'll have a new toy to play with.

Friday, November 28, 2003

I've been putting out some leaflets around the old home area and had to let Karen know that if she gets any phone calls wanting appointments, if they are from Boston Gardens, she should check whether it is Hanwell or Brentford.

The border between the two, which is also the border between London and Middlesex, (or Greater London as it is now), is the local tube line. Unfortunately, just to each side is a road called Boston Gardens. There is also an added complication. Boston Gardens, Hanwell, is really just a row of houses on Boston Road and thus doesn't appear on any road maps.

Now of course, if you're getting a friend to visit you can explain where you are and they find you easily. As my mum discovered in 1961, when going into labour it isn't enough just to tell them to go to 19 Boston Gardens. At 5:00 in the morning the redisents of 19 Boston Gardens, Brentford, were awoken by a pair of burly ambulancemen demanding to be taken to the woman giving birth. Not a request that they could comply with when they finally answered the door. Luckily they'd lived there a bit and knew where to send them, although by the time the ambulance had arrived another 25 minutes had lapsed. They got my mum to the hospital just in time, my brother being born within minutes of being taken into the delivery room.

I rememeber the day well, although not those events above, as I was only four at the time. I remember getting up, having a boiled egg with soldiers for breakfast, and on asking my Grandma where Mum was, (notice how it was only after I ate that I realised my mum was missing!), she said she'd gone to hospital and I had a little brother. I know how excited I was, and I know my mum was relieved at my brothers birth, because years later when we were talking one day, she mentioned that I should have had another brother, born two years after me but she had miscarried. My brothers middle name is Paul, the name my missing sibling would have had.

Years later I heard a track from Elton Johns eponymous album called Greatest Discovery. It describes a small child being taken to see his baby brother for the first time. I don't know whether Elton or Bernie Taupin had a younger brother, but it really is a track that sums it all up for me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

The other day I mentioned that there were negative things going on in my life. They were actually alluded to in last Fridays 5. The long and the short of it is that our dear friends at the Inland Revenue have decided to offer me the chance to go bankrupt. They didn't exactly phrase it as a Readers Digest offer, but they have managed to make me feel special like me, and only me, has been chosen from all the people in my area to receive that letter. The problem has been that the interest for the debt is now spiralling quicker that the payments being made. I don't have a great beef about it, I owe the odd few thousand, and they, and by extention all you other tax payers, are due it and I aren't arguing about it.

This is presently coupled with our mortgage company deciding they want the arrears paid off and money doesn't stretch in all directions at once.

The threat of bankruptcy doesn't bother me. I nearly went some 10 years back and to be honest, part of all this relates back to then. The timings not too good because really I need to be ploughing as much of my disposable income into the company to boost it forward which in turn pays me more etc. etc. etc. The great problem is obviously the flat. The bankruptcy doesn't bother me, the loss of the flat would, big time.

Both the IR and my mortgage company are backing off until after Christmas and then we'll go back into discussions. In the meantime I'll be chating with my solicitor and insolvency practitioners and see what we can come up with.

Good, that's got that off my chest. Still, no matter what happens, they'll never take my blog!!!!

You know how sometimes when things get really bad you placate yourself with the fact that things can't get any worse? The gearbox on my car started packing up yesterday! Do you think someone's trying to tell me something?

Joy of Joys! I met someone tonight who not only remembered Supercar, but had also been a member of the original Supercar Club. He had the big plastic model and had taken it to school where the big boys stole it off him. Well, if you're reading this big boys, we're coming to get you! So there!

Monday, November 24, 2003

Our company bankers are absolutely unbelievable. Last week, a cheque belonging to one of our clients bounced. We discovered this when Karen checked our bank balance late on in the afternoon. She immediately rang them so we could find out why it had bounced. They didn't know. They couldn't tell us whether it had bounced for insufficient funds or a technical reason, so we had to wait until the next day to find out when the cheque was sent back to us, even though they had to write the letter out that accompanied it. Meanwhile, they bounced one of our cheques. We needed to know whether it had gone back "refer to drawer" or with the addition of "please re-present" on it. They couldn't tell us! They bounced a cheque and couldn't tell us how they returned it????? They did however feel pretty sure after investigation that it was "RDPR" They didn't however appear to have any trouble debiting us £30 immediately.

The next day the clients cheque turns up and we discover that her bank had stopped it as it was from an old cheque book that they had reported lost some time ago. Fair enough, the client rings her bank and they agree to clear the cheque if we represent it. We ring our bankers to say what will be happening and check that it will pass through the system correctly as it has stopped written on it. The girl goes off to check. Yes, she says, no problem.

Karen checks the bank balance today to discover the cheque has bounced again, not by our clients bankers but by ours who decided some four days later they weren't going to process it at the clearing house! Oh, and by the way, they bounced our cheque "refer to drawer" only which I discovered earlier today when it arrived back at our installers house.

Job number one tomorrow, go open another bank account!

Went to post a parcel today. Standard 1st class post was about £7.80, guaranteed next day special delivery about £6.30.

Not for me to say that the Post Office haven't quite got their pricing system right. Anyway, I'd much rather get extra for less money!

Saturday, November 22, 2003

It's not really possible to make posts today without mentioning England winning the Rugby World Cup.

I listened to the commentary on 5 Live. Two of the things I'll remember about it were as follows;

At the end of the normal 80 minutes someone texted in to say that they shouldn't panic. In 1966 England were pegged back to level in the closing moments of the normal period. During extra time, England won with goals from their number 10. Coincidence or what? Along of course with a member of the Cohen family being on the pitch on both occasions.

The match summariser during the World Cup has been Rob Andrew who is now Johnny Wilkinsons kicking coach up at Newcastle. He stayed pretty calm through all the matches, but when the final kick went over to win today you could hear him shouting his head off in the background.

The last thing that has given me the most pleasure is that by winning we have escaped the comments of the Aussie population. Can you imagine how insufferable they would have been if they had won with a kick in the last few seconds!

Friday, November 21, 2003

Moi posed the question the other day why is the sky still up when Australia is down under.

I think you'll find that the answer is as follows. The sky is still up because the people living in Australia are upside down. It is a well known fact that all humans contain a small amount of magnetism. There are more people living in the Northern hemisphere than the south thereby anchoring the southerners to the earth. I suspect that if all the people in the Northern Hemisphere jumped up at the same time, then the gravitational field would be broken and those in the South would all "fall upwards" and away from the Earth. At this point the sky would snap back round to the top of the planet and we'd get to see it all. The only possible drawback is that when the sky snaps round it might in theory leave a big hole that the Earth falls through. Still worth a try though.

It's a long time since I did a Friday 5 so here's this weeks.

1. List five things you'd like to accomplish by the end of the year.

  1. Sell £30k of products.

  2. Tidy the garage.

  3. Get my two main creditors off my back.

  4. Another redesign of my website.

  5. Catching up with sleep.

2. List five people you've lost contact with that you'd like to hear from again.

  1. Doug McGevor - who I went to school with.

  2. Dennis Sanders - Friend from the late 70s

  3. Lesley Naylor - girlfriend from 1973

  4. Andy - Friend from Birmingham who was mad on early British Motor Sports

  5. Jenny Hawkins (as was) - Good friend from my Birmingham days

3. List five things you'd like to learn how to do.

  1. Play the piano.

  2. Fly (Planes, rather than by natural means).

  3. Take decent photographs.

  4. Speak French fluently.

  5. Apply myself to the tasks in hand instead of procrastinating.

4. List five things you'd do if you won the lottery (no limit).

  1. Buy a house large enough to have a full sized snooker table in it and a Lexus SC430 in the garage.

  2. Make sure that people close to me never had to worry about money ever again.

  3. Various charitable donations.

  4. Visit my step-sister in San Francisco.

  5. Keep it quiet.

5. List five things you do that help you relax.

  1. Drive.

  2. Geocache.

  3. Drive a bit further.

  4. Play quiz machines

  5. Drive even more.

I'm going to have a Christmas template this year which I've almost completed. I'll launch it 1st December if I can wait that long.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

A message for the cyclist in Noel Road, West Acton at 5:45 this evening.

I take it, since Linda says you told me to "F*ck off you little w*anker", that you were unhappy about the manouver I made in turning right onto the above road. For your information;

As I approached the central white lines I broke at a steady pace to let you past. If you had been aware of other road traffic you would have realised there was no other vehicle behind you so therefore it must have been you I was giving way for. If you felt I was too close, which I never was, it could just have been caused by you veering over to the right hand side of your lane without any hand signals on your approach to the subsequent roundabout which you took without a) stopping at the broken white lines as you are required to do as there was other traffic to the right, b) without giving any hand signals for other road users to work out where exactly you were heading. Your bicycle light at the front is too dim and should there be any regulation regarding such brightness you are almost definitely in contravention of such regulation.

I would point out that just because you wear a yellow reflective jacket and crash helmet, that no more makes you a competent cyclist than my wearing of a horsehair wig and red gowns making me a high court judge.

As you are obviously intent on putting your safety in the hands of other road users, as you don't have the courtesy to give any indication as to which manouvers you will be making I would suggest you examine your own faults first and curb your language, as should you repeat such words to the wrong sort of driver, I can imagine you will be having a fairly intimate conversation with a) their car door, b) the underside of the chassis or c) their fist, pretty soon after.


Hurrah! I have my anytime connection finally re-established including two free months for the trouble I have been put to. More surfing, less work. That's what I reckon anyway.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

I don't have any strong views either way on this evenings news from the U.S. with regard to single sex marriages, but it still rankles that even though Linda and I have lived together for nearly 23 years we have little in the way of rights.

Neither of us wish to marry, Linda never did, and I'd done it once anyway. When it comes to advantages, co-habitees are counted as seperate people, when it comes to negatives, they are classed as a couple. Now why doesn't that surprise me.

Rather a lot going on at the moment, much of which is negative, (what's new there then!). Will probably post about it but in the meantime it's not health related so don't worry, nor is it the company which continues to continue.

Recent events include going to another quiz on Saturday night which we won, and my big toe hurting, a lot! So not too much of interest there which is why I didn't bore you with it. The paint danger has finally passed, and other than the floor of Kev's dads garage having a random assortment of white splodges, all the paint went where it was meant to. Phew!

Saturday, November 15, 2003

What is it about the latex gloves that mechanice use that make your hands smell of baby sick. I had a flat tyre this morning so I used some of the gloves to protect my hands whilst I changed the wheel.

It must be a mixture of the talcum inside and the smell of the latex. It doesn't matter if your hands stay dry or sweat, the moment you remove them the smell wafts around for ages. Yuk!


Do not panic but I must inform you that at lunchtime tomorrow I will be wielding a paint brush.

Hundreds could suffer in a horrible white gloss related catastrophe. Small children could be swept away on a sea of emulsion. There might be a paintalanche burying thousands beneath a dried skin of quick drying trade white one coat satin.

If you leave now you could be outside the 100 mile exclusion zone by mid-day! If you choose to stay then on your own head be it. And don't be surprised if it is!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

I always check the phone numbers of incoming calls before I take them as I like to know whether I am going to be talking to a customer, supplier or friend before I answer, or of course ignoring it if I think it's a creditor! Earlier today there was a call listed as international. The only person who rings us from abroad is Lindas sister so I took it, only to be speaking to a young Indian gentleman on behalf of Sainsburys. He was trying to sell me a dual fuel deal which rather petered out as we don't have gas but I wasn't aware until then that they were one of the companys who had moved their call centre out to India.

I realise they have done this because it is cheaper overall, and no doubt the saving is made through the wages of those who are manning the phones, but does anyone know whether these British companys are paying well compared to average Indian incomes or are they getting away with as little as possible?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Tonight I went to my local Mensa meeting in Ealing. This one was specially chosen because it was the monthly quiz. Unfortunately, due to this being National Science Week or Month, whatever, all the questions were on science.

This is a bit of a disaster as I failed to grasp even the rudiments of Physics, Chemistry and Biology when at School. My score proved I had not improved. From a total of 60 possible points I amassed 6! I did it symetrically by scoring 0, 1, 2, 2, 1, 0, in the 6 rounds. Strangely enough I came last, although only by one point from the next two.

I have been reliably informed that this was not the standard of quiz they normally get. There were people there who work in those fields who weren't doind much better than me. There was one major positive though. Despite coming last I had a great time. I got on really well with the other three guys I was sat by, we spent most of the evening pissing ourselves with laughter and I'll be sure to go to the next.

I've told them I'll get my own back later because I'm an expert on the role of the nasal flute in Mongolian music. I better swot up because I have a funny feeling the bloke who's devising next months quiz might drop a question in for a joke.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Sunday was spent tramping round the Epping Forest area with a Daft Tart. Not a term of rudeness but the nom de guerre of a fellow geocacher.

We started out in sunshine but ended in murky drizzle but managed 100% of finds, a rare ocurrence for me.

I'm not sure what a pair of local residents thought as we rushed into a wood together for 10 minutes and re-emerged covered in leaves and other undergrowth. To be fair, if they thought "he's old enough to be her father" or "she's half the age of him" they'd have been dead right!

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Hurrah! Comments are back! Weeded out some links and just some others to add back. Nearly there. And if Blogger ever does that again............

Well, at least it's starting to look like my site again. Got to sort the comments section out, my logo and header, and then update my links.

Oh, and then remember to save a full backup of the template in case there's a reoccurence!

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Major problems in Kennamaticland!

Forget Freddie Starr ate my hamster, Blogger ate my template. There will nw be a short period, probably of a few days knowing me, until I get everything resorted. Bear with me.

Then again, you have to do that all the time with me anyway!


Thanks to our local sorting office deigning to go back to work, (ours was the second one out and we didn't have post for nearly a fortnight), Ivor Bigguns Fruity Bits has now arrived. I've been listening to it today before recording it and passing it on to JC, and yes I know I'm killing music by doing that, but for the occasional bit I do music has managed to struggle on! I've enjoyed most of the tracks although some are a bit dated, but it is 20 years old so I guess that the fact that 80% still sounds current proves comedy records can keep going for ever.

It's that that leads me on to this post. Where are all the novelty records these days? I can't remember the last one that was in the charts. Admittedly some were atrocious, such as My Ding- a-Ling by Chuck Berry and the even worse Shaddupa Your Face by Joe Dolce, a record best remembered for keeping Ultravoxs' Vienna from number 1 and providing music quiz compilers an old favourite. There is much to be said for not having to suffer The Birdie Song or equivalent but I still think the odd one sneaking through would be good.

I don't think I bought many. I certainly had The Laughing Gnome by David Bowie but I think that was it.

Have you, ever succumbed to buying a novelty record? And can anyone remind me of the last charting one?

Friday, November 07, 2003

WTF is going on with the site!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Via Insubstantial comes this little game to while away a few minutes, or hours, of your day.

Actually, I shall have to put a series of links to all (3) of my little timewasting games over on the left.

As a kid, November 1st was the start of the countdown to my birthday.

There were three of us at infant school and cubs who were always playing together, Mark, Chris and myself. Mark was the oldest and his birthday was this very day. Chris followed on the 14th of November and then I just had to wait a further month. Due to Einstein and his theory of relativity, that month used to pass particularly slowly and now goes way too quick.

Today Mark will be 47, and for the next 6 weeks I can try to convince myself that all is well because I'm younger than him.

I have no idea how we've all managed to reach 47, it is unbelievable to think we can possibly be that age. Mark however has been 47 since I first met him aged 4. He's a solicitor, and could never have been anything else. I, on the other hand, hope one day to grow up a bit and knuckle down to being an adult. But in all honesty, I don't hold out much hope.

I've just tried making a paper plane out of a tissue. It didn't fly.

I must try getting out more!