Thursday, 31 March 2016

Hullish Shorts in Port Talbot

Given all this sun I've made an executive decision to go back into shorts. Someone had to start the ball rolling.

I heard someone on the radio yesterday mentioning Hull and City of Culture in the same sentence. Surely some aspirational statement pertaining to a long term investment and development programme and not something being seriously considered within the next 50 years?

Apparently the government is considering all options for Port Talbot. Could I suggest making it City of Culture? That's bound to bring in lots of investment. If things go tits-up we could see economic migrants from Wales coming over the border into England within our own version of Schengen...

Brexit - if we vote to leave then the negotiations won't take place till after the vote. Why the hell can't they take place before the vote so we are better informed about the consequences and fall-out? A two year hiatus before a vote wouldn't worry me as the overall timeline would be the same. If the negotiations were to take place prior to a vote then that might be the kick in the arse the EU needs to effect some real reform rather than just spouting hot air.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Bear Boxing Boris

Overheard during a TV item on boxing:

TV Interviewer: "The problem is if boxing were to be banned it would just go underground."

Chairman: "Bear baiting didn't go underground."

Hay: "But you didn't have people boxing bears - and in any case there are no bears left here."

Chairman: "When was the last time you went into the Cotswolds? Bloody bears all over the place! There are a few places where there aren't any, but that's because the locals boxed them to death."

They do say David Cameron will resign if we vote to leave the EU. It's tempting, I must say. However, the chances are we'd get  Boris, and that's the worst of all possible outcomes.

Hot on the heels of a dire Easter TV schedule, the BBC proudly announces it's going to remake Till Death Us Do Part, Steptoe and Son and Hancock's Half Hour. It's tantamount paying Damian Hirst millions to repaint the Mona Lisa.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Brunel's Progressive Bricks

An Easter Monday of dire TV, as usual. Last night the BBC announced a block-buster evening of TV and in the same breath ironically mentioned Eastenders and yet another repeat of Wallace and Grommet in The Wrong Trousers. The adverts on ITV are more interesting than the programmes. Even tried watching Mr Bean play Maigret as Inspector Fred Thursday, but how many interpretations can you squeeze out of one detective in a lifetime? - it seems only yesterday Michael Gambon was playing him. I guess advertising money is now spread too thinly over a proliferation of independent channels and the BBC licence fee can't keep pace with an explosion in highly paid BBC managers. Both networks seem intent on paying entertainers millions for contracts too.

Had a late family lunch in the kampong on Sunday. Hay's dad and Barbara disappeared just before 9pm to see The Night Manager on TV, but Shell and Perry remained. We started to watch YouTube music videos, all taking a turn to choose our own favourites. Naturally enough, one choice would stimulate a choice from the next in line that followed a theme. Unfortunately Perry led us into a Prog Rock dead-end with Greenslade, from which it was impossible to escape. I mean, how do you get away from 5 minute drum solos and some of the worst Prog Rock excesses and self-indulgences of a band like Greenslade? The only possible escape route would be via Ginger Baker, but we simply weren't prepared to tread that path for fear or yet more interminable drum solos and called it a night.

Took a walk to our local bridge over the Great Western Line to see what they're doing for the electrification of the line. They're beefing up several of the bridges to support something, presumably the electrification cables.

Brunel must be turning in his grave over that brickwork! Hay's dad near had apoplexy. 

Monday, 28 March 2016

Highway Code Bag Spill

Is it actually legal to be using a mobile while riding a horse on the main road?

Hay's sister went for a walk yesterday through James (Roper) Dyson's grounds and came across an Eastern European security guard. It occurred to her that perhaps Doddington Park - his estate - is a cover for an arms manufacturing business or a private army training ground. We toyed with the idea of getting a male family member on the inside posing as a a chef. There was no sign of Corky...

Apparently there's a self-promotional thing on Twitter called #BagSpill, where women artfully arrange the expensively branded contents of their designer handbags, such that they look as if they've accidentally spilled out, and then take a photo of the result, posting it on twitter. It's meant to enhance a girl's 'personal brand platform'. Might do a #PocketSpill on here, but it would comprise nothing more edifying than fluff, an old battered wallet, car keys, my mobile, a vaping device and a piece of tissue paper smeared with the residue of the flu I've been suffering from for the last week - although the catarrh has been so heavy that I've been using the African method to get rid of it (although not in public).

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Crime and Punishment - and Complicity

Earlier in the week I said I had an insight into school corporal punishment after the Snowdon climb with some old boys from my school.

I was sat bracketed between a couple of chaps who attended my school in the early to mid 60s, a few years before me. Having heard the stories of different generations, I can definitely say that the terrors of punishments meted out by both teachers and pupils alike became more civilized by my time. In the 'olden days' it was quite horrific and medieval.

School terrorism comprised 3 elements, officially sanctioned punishment by teachers, officially sanctioned punishment by the Senior Cadet Captains (prefects) and the Chief Cadet Captain (Head Boy) and unofficial punishments - or bullying - by the King of the Woods, the latter usually being the most pugnacious (and sometimes sheer evil) boy in his last term at the school. The King of the Woods was effectively the school bully and arch recidivist. Official punishment varied from early heave outs (getting up an hour early to perform strenuous exercises) to cuts (being beaten over the backside with a bell rope).

Richard, who was King of the Woods just before he left my school, was recounting an incident over dinner when he was ordered to the Gun Room by the Chief Cadet Captain for cuts. a punishment for some misdemeanour. As Head Boy, the CCC was authorised to administer cuts as he saw fit, but an official log of punishments had to be kept. Richard refused to attend the Gun Room - it was a head to head clash between officialdom and an unofficial, but very real power. The CCC was not empowered to simply have a bunch of senior boys just grab him and frogmarch him to the Gun Room for punishment, and therefore the weakness of the official punishment system was exposed - it relied 100% on the complicity of the person being punished by presenting himself for punishment. As Richard said; "There was no law that said I had to present myself for punishment."

Richard was a renowned King of the Woods, as corroborated by several people I know from his era. A confirmed recidivist who, I get the impression, now regrets a lot of his intimidatory activities at school and has to live with the fact that he came to be hated by a lot of his contemporaries. He  now has to live with that. The result is he never attends the annual reunions. This was the first event he has attended, albeit a much smaller affair than the annual reunion. Nevertheless, his insight into the complicity of punishment was quite enlightening and can be extrapolated to wider social spheres.

Richard is now a very nice bloke but, I suspect, is haunted by his time at school.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Wobbly Italian Weaponised Mice

Went to an Italian restaurant yesterday for a coffee after doing the weekly shopping at Aldi in Thornbury. How many times have you been in a pub or restaurant with a wobbly table? I mean, it isn't difficult to go round your tables and check whether they're fit for purpose before opening the doors. Nothing annoys me more than a wobbly table, except perhaps execrable food, but then you won't be in the food business for long anyway.

I've always wondered how Italian restauranteurs maintain their staff's Italian accents? Say you came over from Italy in the 60s or 70s when Italian food was all the rage. You're about to retire and have handed the business to your children - who speak impeccable and regionally accented English because they were brought up here! All authenticity is blown out of the water! There must be a school somewhere that teaches the children of Italian immigrants how to speak in near-perfect Italian-accented English. Either that or they would have to take a back seat and get a revolving cadre of Italians over for a few years at a time to provide an air of authenticity. Once they're tainted by Brummie, Scouse or a west country accent they'd have to pack their bags.

Kitty brought in a mouse last night, but it got away and managed to hide behind the big cooker. The problem is that over the years we have accidentally dropped many a ladle, knife or spatula behind the cooker and it's too heavy to move to retrieve them. The mouse will doubtless by now be weaponised  with naked steel and Kitty had better watch out.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Welsh Cybercrime Keyboard

Apparently one of our walking party on Snowdon on Wednesday had one of those tracker Apps on his iPhone and logged our route. The elevation setting was wrong however, as it was incorrectly calibrated and assumed a sea level start.

The boys who did the original climb started from the main road at the end of the lake and took the short cut up the side of the ridge on the shaded side - an altogether bigger challenge that was beyond the exertions of a bunch of over 60s.

I wonder why Welsh is compulsory in Welsh schools, as well as everything in Wales from road signs to council documentation being in English and Welsh, yet the BBC Wales news is broadcast in English only? Even on the BBC Wales news site Welsh seems to be an afterthought.

A lot of companies are touting their anti-cybercrime credentials on TV adverts at present as a selling point. Can't for the life of me think of anyone I know who has been affected by cybercrime though - misselling scandals aplenty, but not cybercrime. Is anti-cybercrime the new Y2K perhaps?

Having started a new job I was given a new laptop - a piece of crap called the Dell Latitude E7250 (no Bluetooth, no DVD drive and a hard disk no larger than 110Gb, meaning it is filled to 90% capacity already with my old Dropbox data that's been gathering and growing since laptops were invented). Its only advantage is it is small and light for travelling, and the battery lasts a good couple of hours. Anyway, given the capacity limitation of the new laptop I have to keep the old one going and, naturally enough, the keyboards are vastly different, meaning lots of typos and garbled sentences on switching from leisure to work mode and vice versa. Touch typing is now a thing of the past and I really have to concentrate. Why can't keyboards be standardised as to the location of the cursor keys and the delete key at least?

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Snowdonia II

Well, we made it, as the following photos will attest. The original party from 1946 climbed a very steep slope from the road below to the crag in question, whereas we walked the well-trodden path that was somewhat longer and less demanding and more accommodating to people over 60, an assortment of tin knees and the odd titanium hip.

A dinner was had in the hotel restaurant was had in the evening where old acquaintances were rekindled and new friendships with other years from the school made.

Some interesting comments on corporal punishment from a chap who was at the school some 5 years before me, the actions of whom made things rather easier for those who followed in his footsteps, but more of that another day.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016


Made it to Llanberis following a 6 hour drive cross country to see the sights, rather than face the monotony of the motorway system. Fair to middling chance we'll retrace our steps tomorrow to avoid the Easter traffic. 

While I like most parts of Wales, it has to be said that, if the sun ain't shining, parts of north Wales redefine grimness to an extent where even Aberdeen starts to look appealing. We even saw a quarry where I am convinced they dig grimness from the ground for export.

Being a natural early riser, travelling with Hay can be rather fraught - I can't sit in the room and read at 4am or pull out the mobile phone to peruse the news, having instead to creep downstairs and find somewhere warm and secluded where I'm not in the way of staff going about their cleaning duties.

Met up with a bunch of old school chums for drinks and dinner, including Paul who, despite having had me as his valet at school (he was 2 years senior to me), didn't insist on giving me his shoes to spit and polish for the morning. Lanterns were swung and old teachers remembered during dinner - in fact one of my teachers, who was a keen climber in the 60s and took many of us on expeditions, will be joining us for the Snowdon ascent later this morning. He's now well into his 80s, but is, unfortunately, dying of cancer.

The ascent commences at 09:30 with the infirm going up part way by the train. I do hope we are not about to feature on the BBC news tonight; "Party of 40 pensioners disappear on Snowdon during torrential rain and hurricane force winds...." Base camp has been prepared and Sherpas hired. Not sure who will be in charge of the oxygen. Will report further tomorrow and hope to be able to show a photo of one of our team at the summit planting a flag for the old school.

Spotted these boards in the hotel bar - apparently there's an annual race to the summit. However, look at the times of the winners of the 2014 race. How is that humanly possible?

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Tennis Academy Fruit Tribune

Men and women's tennis prize equality? Make women to play best of 5 and make the prize money equal. Problem solved. Simples!

The Great Old Sodbury Trouser Fiasco has ended satisfactorily - Hay accompanied me to the shop, so I had a responsible adult with me. That said, all the trousers I have recently bought have had button flies and for some inexplicable reason the button fly seems to be de rigueur these days - perhaps it's some retro thing. Now the button fly is the bane of my life for various reasons, but I have just thought of another reason it should be consigned to the dustbin of time - if you lose an arm or the use of the fingers on one hand, you have to buy an entirely new wardrobe of trousers. Ain't that discriminatory against disabled people somehow?

Hay bought me a couple of NEXT polo shirts on-line for my 61st birthday today, but they're a tad snug, so I  guess the Great Old Sodbury Polo Shirt Fiasco is about to kick off...

Can anyone explain to me in one word syllables what Academy Schools are meant the achieve and how, along with who pays for it all?

Given the furore over benefit cuts for the disabled, I wonder if we shouldn't revive the old Roman office of Tribune of the Plebs, with the holder having a veto on legislation harmful to the vulnerable. While I suspect IDS' stand has more to it than meets the eye, perhaps he should be the first holder of the office as a foil against Cameron bringing back slavery.

We're seeing a lot of seedless fruit these days - grapes and oranges come immediately to mind. This presupposes that the fruit in question can only be replicated by vegetative propagation, but what happens if the varieties we rely on today are suddenly wiped out by a virulent pathogen and we have no seeds with which to replenish stocks? I am reminded of the Great Old Sodbury Worzel Disaster of '63...

Off to Llanberis shortly, leaving No.1 Son in charge of the house. Back Thursday, if I survive and the house doesn't burn down in the meantime. The only dark cloud on the horizon is that I think I'm coming down with a most virulent and debilitating strain of Man Flu. 

Monday, 21 March 2016

FCUK, Lycra Bifocals

Haven't picked up the trousers yet; they came into the shop too late yesterday for me to collect them. Will provide an update tomorrow.

Every cafe we went to yesterday during our morning walk was filled to the brim with angry, testosterone-pumped, middle-aged, Lycra-clad blokes with their expensive racing bikes piled high outside. You just don't see cyclists dressed in normal clothes, a flat cap and bicycle clips anymore.

We were talking about holiday camps with Hay's dad over lunch yesterday. They were a post WWII phenomenon and he's convinced those who ran them learned a thing or two from the NAZIs in running them.

Despite having worn bifocals for some 8 years now, I'm not getting on too well with my latest pair from SpecSavers. Noticed yesterday that they have a logo on the side which had escaped me until then - FCUK - and I think that's a fair description of them. Hay thinks they have a touch of Dame Edna about them...

61st Birthday's Eve today. We're off early tomorrow to travel to Llanberis to meet up with some 20 old school chums and their partners to climb Snowden on Wednesday.The less energetic among us will be taking the railway to the top.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Wrong Trousers

Hay is of the opinion I shouldn't be allowed out clothes shopping without an accompanying adult.

She bought me an extra pair of trousers as a spare set for my travels last week. I went and left them at the first hotel I stayed at and had to have then posted home from Newcastle on Wednesday.

Luckily the hotel in Aberdeen was attached too a shopping mall, so on Wednesday evening I bought a replacement pair at Next. Tried them on when I got back to the hotel, but they were skinny fit, which is anathema to me - made me look like Max Wall. It was too tale to take them back.

On Thursday morning I returned them to Next when they opened at 8:30. Texted Hay and she asked me if I'd tried them on in the shop. Obviously I hadn't, but to keep her quiet I said I had.

Got home on Friday evening and surreptitiously tried them on, only to find they were slim fit, which again is no use when you have calves like a rugby player. Hay did her nut.

Took them to our local Next and traded them in for another pair in regular fit, even getting the sales assistant to check they were indeed regular fit. Just as she had completed the transaction I noted they were several shades darker than the ones I'd returned, so I asked her to change them for the correct colour; however, they didn't have that shade in stock si she put a pair on order. 

Going back to Next this afternoon to collect them - I will try them on and check the colour before I leave the shop. Stand by for the next installment of the Great Old Sodbury Triuser Fiasco....

Saturday, 19 March 2016

A Grey City

Had a very busy week assimilating my new company's business processes at our UK offices in Newcastle, Aberdeen and Wickford. This, as well as not having the benefit of Hay's stimulating conversation, meant a dearth of posts.

Aberdeen is a city that I can't say I really like. The entire place is built from grey granite and no matter whether the sun is shining brightly, the granite sucks the light from the atmosphere leaving the place dismally dull.

However, you do have to admire the Aberdonian steeplejacks. Just look at that wonky ladder snaking up the church, which appears to be stitched together with bits of string and hope. There's no way you'd get me up there on that.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Fused American Politicians

I was listening to a profile of Senator Ted Cruz on Radio 4 yesterday afternoon. He was described as a deeply religious man who supports the death penalty. There's a breathtaking illogicality about that juxtaposition of views. It seems to me that there's a disturbing similarity between the American religious right and conservative Islam.

I'm travelling around the country this week and obviously staying in hotels on the way. Woke up at 4:30 this morning and decided to iron my decidedly wrinkled trousers, only to have the fuses blow in my hotel room. It was somewhat tricky getting dressed in the pitch black in order to go down to reception and have the power restored.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Simon's New Name

Henceforth, our friend Simon will be known as Sweet Apples...

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Deep Water

I heard someone at our sales conference yesterday doing a presentation talking about getting into deep water. Ironic when a good few number of us are ex merchant navy navigating officers from around the world, our business is selling UK Hydrographic Office electronic charts and ships need deep water for safety.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Queen of the EU

Personally, and irrespective of what the Sun newspaper says, I find it hard to believe the Queen is an ardent supporter of the EU and closer integration. Her prime concern will be the continuation of the family firm, and I don't just mean the Windsors, as within an EU superstate kingdoms would be relegated to becoming mere dukedoms. The kings and queens of European countries are a superkingdom in their own right, having historically offered spare princes from their pan-European dynasty as kings of countries in need of one one. Naturally, a United States of Europe with a President as Head of State would have no need of kings and queens.

There again, if nations are well disposed to their royals, would they be willing to give them up?

It's anomalous that the European Council is comprised of Heads of State, but in no case is a county's member of the Council a royal, even if (as in our case) the monarch is the Head of State.

I'm surprised our royals haven't yet lodged an action with the European Court of Human Rights about the ban on them marrying outside the Anglican faith.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Gallic Shopping Wars

Having read Adrian Goldsworthy's excellent biography of Caesar, this week I've been reading Caesars Commentaries on the Gallic Wars. However, while reading lots about Vercingetorix, Orgetorix and Ambiorix, I have failed to any reference at all to either of the most famous Gauls of all time, Asterix and Obelix.

Extend Sunday shop opening hours? No - give shop workers some weekend time, for Christ's sake. In fact, life was better when nothing opened on Sunday except newsagents, leisure facilities and pubs. I'd vote for a return to those days. And no - shipping is not a leisure activity.

Went out to dinner with some 30 of my new work colleagues last night. I was sat in a group comprising a Scot, a Dutchman, a German, a Japanese and myself. We didn't mention the War, but the biggest topic discussed was the EU. Although it wasn't a scientifically selected cross section of European society (especially with a Japanese present), everyone had the same issues with the EU but generally thought it a force for good. Their biggest beef was inviting countries that were nowhere near ready to join, and as for Turkey - no way!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The Wrong Day

It wasn't yesterday I had to go to London to start the new job, it's today. Lucky I found out before leaving the house. The downside was that I had to face yet another hard day's slog on Facebook...

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The Milk Bottle

I've had a brilliant idea! You know those glass candle holders - you know the ones I mean, I've put a photo of them below:

Well, the idea is to use them for milk. Neat, eh? Just think of it, supermarkets wouldn't have to use those oil-based plastic containers which are not that recyclable without lots of precious energy and could instead recycle these glass thingies, which I have given the snazzy name of 'milk bottles'. 

They could be capped with tin foil, although that may not be adequate from a food security or leakage aspect, but they could be adapted to use those old fashioned levered stoppers which could show whether the 'milk bottle' has been opened.

Some enterprising people could even deliver milk in this manner - a good name for them would be 'milkmen'. If they came every day, then you'd only need to order as much as you need for 24 hours, rather than keeping a plastic bottle in the fridge for a week or more and risking it going rancid. They could even deliver bread, eggs and fruit juice at the same time.

Just think of it - the simplicity of the ultimate recycling model combined with freshness. I wonder if it would catch on?

Monday, 7 March 2016

Locum Coffee Bread

Let me get this straight - The Boris is calling the EU IN campaign 'Project Fear', while simultaneously branding Cameron's pledge that the UK would not be drawn into a European superstate, confirmed in his recent negotiations, ratifiable by treaty and not gainsaid by any EU leader, 'unworkable', with no evidence of nor reason for his supposition whatsoever. Do I sense pot calling kettle black. Is The Boris perhaps turning into a Boris Karloff?

Hay managed to persuade our local cafe owner, Chris, to release all his spent coffee grounds to her on a weekly basis to use as a buffer for the composting toilet and on the 'normal' compost heap. I took delivery of several kilos of spent grounds earlier this week and Hay immediately used some of them in the composting loo. The humanure in the composting loo now has a mild aroma of a Colombian Mundo Novo latte. Walking into the cabin is like entering a Starbucks.

Why is it that some people are incapable of slicing a slab of bread from a loaf without leaving the rest of the loaf looking like a half collapsed Moroccan ruin? One argument is to simply continue cutting the loaf at the angle at which it was left, but then it just gets progressively worse every time the phantom loaf mangler strikes. I always try to correct the angle (call it OCD if you will), ending up with a wedge-shaped piece of bread for my troubles.

Just thought of a business opportunity for someone - a locum mechanic. He or she could offer to provide holiday cover for sole trader garages, or to help clear a car repair backlog.

I officially start my new job today, although I'm not scheduled to do anything till tomorrow when I travel to London for the company sales conference till Friday. Next week is an induction course at the head office in North Shields for a couple of days, followed by a visit to other offices in Aberdeen and Wickford till Friday. Shortly after that will come probable visits to the international branches in Europe and Asia. It'll be good to be back in harness, but posting regularity may suffer.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Bio Bags

If you're from Kent, are you Kentonese?

Overheard in Lidl:

Hay: "Look - lemon and raspberry semifreddo."

Chairman: "Wasn't he one of the characters in The Godfather?"

Hay: "No, you're thinking of Lord of the Rings."

Talking of supermarkets, I've often wondered why they don't use biodegradable carrier bags to overcome the 5p government levy, especially the ones made from potato starch (bags, not politicians). Incredibly it turns out that biodegradable bags aren't exempt from the levy. The government did a report on biodegradables in December, the conclusion being they they don't yet have any suitable standards for biodegradability of carrier bags, which I find hard to believe. Given the government is making money on this we shouldn't expect any concrete results this side of the 2nd coming.

Paper bags, apparently, are exempt, yet paper is recyclable and currently sustainable. Still we see no rush by supermarkets to replace plastic bags with paper ones. I remember most supermarkets of my youth - Kwik Save, Fine Fare, Lennon's, Safeway - using paper carrier bags in the 60s, well before the plastic carrier bag was ever thought of. That said, I also remember my mother having fits when the bottom of a paper bag burst open on being slightly wet from some squashed item of fruit at the bottom of the bag.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Gigi Moment at The Bodkin Hotel

Overheard at The Bodkin Hotel while dining there last night and checking it out as a wedding venue:

Chairman: "Could you live in the house on your own after I kick the bucket?"

Hay: "I'd be blissfully relieved to."

While we were at The Bodkin we had a Gigi moment about something from our mutual past and then simultaneously burst into the song:

H: We met at nine
M: We met at eight
H: I was on time
M: No, you were late
H: Ah, yes, I remember it well We dined with friends
M: We dined alone
H: A tenor sang
M: A baritone
H: Ah, yes, I remember it well That dazzling April moon!
M: There was none that night And the month was June
H: That's right. That's right.
M: It warms my heart to know that you remember still the way you do
H: Ah, yes, I remember it well.

Well, we didn't actually remember all that, just the first few lines, as we disagreed on the exact wording...

Friday, 4 March 2016

Rag Bag Stag Question Mark

Was looking for a suitable pair of jeans in our local charity shop yesterday and came across these.

Seriously! Shouldn't they be in the rag bag rather than being priced at £4.50?

Watched Stag on iPlayer yesterday - a very black comedy on the BBC (actually a clone of Mad Dogs, which is being re-run as an American version on Amazon Prime, with one of the actors from the British version acting in the US version). Very funny it is too, but am I alone in thinking JJ Feild and Tom Hiddlestone were separated at birth?

Now for a matter of punctuation; where do you stand on the issue of using a question mark mid-sentence? Apparently it was used almost ubiquitously in the past but is now falling out of fashion. Seems logical to use it mid-sentence in the spoken language using inflection, although I have to admit to never having used it in this manner in the written language and choose to rearrange the sentence. Any views from the literati?

Thursday, 3 March 2016

A Risky Woman's Work II

I'm addressing the blokes here: ever been hoovering the living room, only to have the mem-sahib hovering around you helpfully pointing our bits you've missed before you've even reached them? Do you eventually do what I do and finally give up to the inevitable, handing her the hoover (biting back the desire to tell her to do it herself then), only to face being told at a later date that you never help with the hoovering?

I hear some bloody doctors want to ban rugby tackles in school rugby due to the risk of damage that can be caused. It's a fact that more kids receive broken bones and concussion from skiing than school rugby. De-risking everything seems to be the order of the day.

No.1 Son took an interest in this story and has alerted me to the inherent risks in me getting him to mow the lawn - there's a risk of all manner of nasty lacerations to toes and fingers. Washing the dishes is another thing he's concerned about due to the risk of bacteria infection. As for changing his bedding, well, naturally there's exposure to dust mites. I can honestly say I never thought of all these risks. I guess there's a risk in me slapping him over the head too, or should that be a risk of....

Talking of risky behaviour, I spotted this aresehole doing 4 wheel drifts at high speed round our local roundabout yesterday - in the wet. He did one and a quarter circuits and three drifts before spotting me and my camera and making a fast exit toward Chipping Sodbury. Naturally I reported him at the local police station. Doubt anything will happen.

X387 FGF, if anyone's interested. Feel free to circulate if you're from the Chipping Sodbury Yate area - might shame the bugger.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

A Woman's Gravitational Way in the Home

Overheard while doing the washing up:

Hay: "Ugh! You haven't cleaned this spatula very well."

Chairman: "I most certainly did - I paid particular attention to it."

Hay: "Then why is the handle covered in bread dough?"

Chairman: "Oh, obviously I meant the blade, not the handle!"

Saw an item on the news last night about planners developing walking and dementia friendly housing estates. I wish to hell they'd just concentrate on building nice houses that people actually want to live in, rather than tiny boxes that make the most efficient use of land and crowd everyone together. It's not rocket science for Christ's sake!

I need to contact the National Physical Laboratory - I'm sure there's a standing gravitational wave underneath our bathroom, well, either that or an event horizon. At least that's the conclusion I've reached from the readings on the bathroom scales.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Leap Day Bugatti Weight Watchers

Given it was Leap Day I agreed to marry Hay yesterday - even found a venue for the reception on my morning walk.

Well, we have to keep costs down...

In the last couple of days I've seen two of these Weight Watcher women talking to clients; one in our local coffee shop talking to 4 other women, and one in the JD Wetherspoon in Yate - and before you jump to any conclusions, I was in the Wetherspoons seeking a loo (I do have some self-respect).

I've never understood this need to have a mentor to lose weight and it seems to be predominantly a female thing. Laptops come out and all manner of charts are discussed. Surely it can't be that hard to simply decrease the amount of food you eat and step up the exercise a bit - you don't need to pay for overpriced meals to do that. However, a bit of encouragement always goes a long way if you're not getting it from other sources. As you can see, Jeremy Clarkson is having no problems at all in shedding a bit of lard...

Do you reckon he's been Photoshopped to make him look slimmer?

The Bugatti Chiron - $2.6m price tag and speakers with diamonds in them. If it wasn't for those diamonds I might be able to afford one. As it is I'll just have to wait till the 2nd hand price bottoms out. The electrics starting to fail usually heralds the price of these fancy cars coming down to the under £5k region. I'll keep an eye out on eBay in a few years time.