Sunday, 1 February 2009

Sunday 01/02/09

Saw Mother yesterday morning. Absolutely no recognition on her part at all and I could have been the coal man for all the interaction there was. Every time she started to speak she went into stutter mode.

Called round to see my oldest childhood friend, John, who was at his old man’s house due to him having died earlier in the week. John, who is a professional builder of sorts, gave me some advice as he cleared out bags of cement and sand from his MPV in order to fit some furniture from his dad’s house into it; always carry some sand and cement in your car, as you’ll never know when you’ll need it. John has a bag of each in his VW MPV, has never used it in 20 years and it always gets in the way of him carrying stuff in his car. However, he’s reluctant to remove it as he maintains he’s guaranteed to need it the instant he does so. It’s been in his car so long that the cement has set and is useless except as ballast and as obstructions to getting furniture into the car.

The Lords have been arguing about the efficacy and safety of energy-saving light bulbs. Proponents say they save the planet as they use less energy. If the government wants to save energy they should switch off the gazillion watt lighting along motorways. As I was driving to Southport at sparrow’s fart yesterday, I was horrified at the sheer waste along parts of the M5 and M6. If it’s OK for vast stretches of the motorway network to be unlit, then why for God’s sake do they illuminate similar sections in other areas? Please give me back my incandescent bulbs and switch off the motorway lights! That should enable a few coal-burning power stations to close.

Regarding these walkouts at energy plants across the UK: given the £ is now on parity with the €, how on earth can it be cheaper to employ Italian construction workers? Regardless of the legality or ethics of employing non-UK labour, there’s more to this than meets the eye - you mark my words. Perhaps I sense the vague smell of corruption and back-handers.

Took delivery of the banana flavour e-liquid yesterday. It tastes just like those yellow banana shaped sweets – the ones made out of the same sugary stuff as Barratt’s Shrimps. Imagine me, a hardened smoker who used to frown on anything that didn’t taste like a crematorium at full blast, smoking sweeties.

The other day I heard a jazz-fusion track on Grand Designs (the link is for any non-Brits), which I absolutely adored and had to get hold of. Through the application of interweb research I discovered that the chap who writes the music for Grand Designs is David Lowe with the track in question being called ‘Designer Jazz’. Not being able to find the individual track on iTunes (or anywhere else, for that matter), I went to Lowe’s website and bought the entire CD of Grand Designs music for a fiver (how sad can you get?). The CD arrived yesterday and the minute I started playing it Hay began doing a voiceover à la Kevin McCloud as each track started. I’ve therefore re-titled the tracks as per Hay’s voiceovers, which perfectly evoke the mood of the music:

  • Track 1: Opening Titles
  • Track 2: “Contemporary rural barns are not everyone’s idea of a Grand Design; however…..”
  • Track 3: “Foundation work finally started in June – a whole 5 years later than scheduled.”
  • Track 4: “Colin, the builder, has worked day and night to get the frame ready for the roof and is shagged out.”
  • Track 5: “It’s been 10 years since Badger & Hay started and, amazingly, everything is back on schedule.”
  • Track 6: “The weather has turned against them – it’s been hammering down for 2 months and all work has stopped.”
  • Track 7: “A break in the weather means they’ve finally topped the house out and all is back on schedule for the build to be completed in another 5 years.”
  • Track 8: “It’s been 3 years since I last visited Badger & Hay…….”
  • Track 9: “It’s not everyone’s taste, but it works for me - the juxtaposition of old and new; the harmony of the design with its environment; the way they’ve brought the outside inside.”

A man who uses his home in Bradley Stoke, near Bristol, as a studio for adult films has been confronted by protesting neighbours who are not at all happy about where he runs his entirely legal business (yes, I was surprised that it’s legal). A neighbour who lives nearby said: "Why is this going on? Why is this allowed? There are little children round here." The pornographer replied: "When you look at the house, you can't actually see that there's anything going on.” That neatly disposes of the legality and depraving influence arguments.

Another neighbour (the husband of the aforementioned neighbour) said: “If you've got pornography here now, you're going to have prostitution next, you're going to have drugs.” Ah – the old thin-edge-of-the-wedge argument! A fallacy if ever I heard one. On that basis they shouldn’t allow pensioners near the area – it’ll be dead people littering the streets next! How about pets? Allow pets and the next thing you know packs of feral dogs will be attacking the neighbours! Laundry? No – before you can say egg foo yung there will be a Chinese laundry opening on the corner and the place will be overrun with communists!

One neighbour, surprisingly, raised a logically valid argument – that it’s affecting house prices. However, if you insist on picketing the offending house and attracting every newspaper, radio and TV reporter in the country, then trashed house prices is a self-inflicted injury as well as a self-fulfilling prophesy.


  1. I loved the Grand Designs soundtrack - Kevin says they are 'underwhelmed' with offers to take part - Maybe you and Hay could volunteer?

    It could provide some impetus to the work, or not!

    Re the photo Meme thingie, sir, if it's any consolation, were I to have used our own folders of photos, they would be full of my OH's pics of offending servers in far-flung parts of the world...

    Old men at dinner sounds quite nice!

  2. We were considering it. We frequent an antique shop in Frome where the owner is friends with McCloud. He suggested McCloud might be interested. However, as intimated in the blog, it may take 10 years to complete the build.

    I guess you started reading my blog well after the October reunion of my old school, which contains photos. I suggest you go to the 1st or 2nd post and click on the link to the entire story and then go to around the 12th Oct.