Friday, 31 August 2018

Roller Upgrade

My Rollerblades are not very well made and one boot in particular hurts my inner left ankle due to a misalignment of my ankle and the depression within the boot designed to accommodate it. So, I decided to buy a new pair and found these on Amazon at half price - soft boot Rollerblades. The original price was 90 quid, but I got them for 38.

The difference is phenomenal. My old boots were solid, rigid plastic, noisy as hell and it was difficult to get up any speed on anything other than a very smooth surface. Also, it was painful to skate for longer than 20 minutes, so using them to get into town and back (the ultimate aim) was a definite no-no.

These new ones are as comfortable as a pair of slippers, totally silent and glide across the most uneven surface like it's ice. It's like moving from a tricycle to a racing bike. It took me some 5 to 10 minutes to get used to them during this morning's practice session at Tesco and I nearly came a cropper a couple of times. Turning is so easy too - you can actually control your turns like a dream. It's a whole new experience and has ramped up my enthusiasm, which I have to admit was waning slightly.

The Chairman's recommendation on Rollerblading is not to skimp on cost when purchasing Rollerblades - don't go for the cheapest and go for a soft-boot, especially if you're in your 60s.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Rivalry of Politicians

No.1 Son, No.2 Son and I went into competition yesterday evening. 
  • The Chairman, age 63 - 5' 10.25".
  • No.1 Son, age 20 - 6' 11.25".
  • No. 2 Son, age 18 - 6' 1.5".

I lost, but there again, I have shrunk about an inch since my 20s...

What I don't like about politicians taking to social media is that they can say anything they want without a sanity filter. That's what they like - their statements are followed by their supporters, without news reporters checking on the veracity of their comments. I still prefer to receive my news from reputable news sites, rather than direct from the mouths of politicians.

That said, Trump is now complaining that Google only promotes negative views of him. That's hardly surprising though, as all he seems to come out with is blatant lies and rather negative comments on just about anyone who refuses to lavish unwarranted praise on him. The man is an utter disgrace to humanity and absolutely detests being held to account for his egotism. He complains about fake news but, ironically, most of it emanates from his own mouth.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Trigger's Broom

The ride-on mower deck has returned from the welder down the road - he'd forgotten about it, hence it languishing there for 3 weeks - well, I did say there was no rush. Just as well it wasn't required while the grass was recovering from the drought.

It does seem to be turning into Trigger's Broom, what with it requiring constant welding to keep it going. I painted the welded surfaces (and other exposed areas) with KuRust and will paint it with something hard wearing before mounting it back on the tractor unit.

The welding altered some of the dimensions, which necessitated a bit of adjustment to get it to seat properly on the mower, but by lunchtime it was back in action. I'm not sure how much longer I can get from the unit, but it won't be that long before Trigger's Broom will need complete replacement.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Dead Walled Garden Friends

I'm getting to the stage where I believe I will have to have a clear-out of my Facebook Friends. I'm certain there's more than a smattering of dead people in the list.

I'm left on my own with No.1 and No.2 Sons while Hay has gone off to Oxwich Bay in The Gower to chaperone her dad and his lady friend - it's the lady friend's birthday treat. We've really become enamoured with Wales of late and it's our new Devon / Cornwall, and it's a lot nearer, being just over the Severn Crossing.

Rather than AirBnB-ing, they're staying at an hotel. I don't think Hay's dad's lady friend would take too well to AirBnB - she likes her creature comforts and isn't into having to possibly muck in (or even muck out, as one may have to do in certain places with animals).

When in Pembroke last weekend we visited yet another National Trust property - we certainly get our money's worth from the NT) - Llanerchaeron. A Georgian house with simply the most beautiful and largest walled garden I've ever seen.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Pembroke Break

Had occasion to buy some engine oil for the car over the weekend - £36 for 5 litres. Why is oil, which is merely less refined petrol, more expensive than petrol? Answers on a postcard.

We went to Pembrokeshire for a couple of days over the weekend, staying with some AirBnB people, and what wonderful people they were. We've used AirBnB about half a dozen times in the last year and had simply the best experiences and met the most interesting hosts.

The place we stayed at was virtually an estate and the owner is one of those engineering types who can turn his hand to anything and do it well. The place we stayed even has its own forest and is littered with interesting artefacts, like a TARDIS (see yesterday's post), a racing Triumph GT6 (which he offered to sell me, but it was a tad too expensive for my taste) and lots of machinery - including a digger (I lust after a digger) and a huge polytunnel. He even makes coracles.

The house is a rambling old mansion that he's upgraded over the years. He's also working on renovating two old cottages in the grounds to use as bed and breakfast accommodation. He inherited the place from his parents and lived there as a kid.

After having gone out for an excellent meal at The Nag's Head in Abercych (well recommended) and polishing off one bottle of red, the owner waylaid me with another bottle of red and kept us chatting till gone midnight.

Before settling on this place we tried another, but shortly after booking it the lady of the house phoned us to say she'd done the AirBnB thing without consulting her husband, who is an artist, and he had a meltdown, so she had to cancel. Poor, sensitive soul. Worked out well for us though, else we wouldn't have found this place.

Visited some nice beaches - we seem to have a penchant for finding secluded beaches that are off the beaten track for most people. Our secret is to scan Google Maps in satellite mode, looking for just the right beaches that are somewhat harder to access for people with kids.

This one following is Traeth Mwnt.

And this one is Barafundle Bay.

OK, so the fact it was raining contributed to them being deserted, but I can't see them being filled to capacity with kids at any time due to the access.

We were going to have a look at Monkstone Beach, but ran out of time as we were chatting with our AirBnB hosts too long.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

See You Last Week

We're AirBnB-ing in Pembrokeshire and I spotted this in the woods at the place we're staying.

I'm going to see if it works - ill see you last week... 

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Mass Shrek Allergies

I'm hearing more and more rules coming into force to cater for allergies in relation to food. Time was when all these people with spurious allergies simply died; however, now restaurateurs have to list each one of a myriad allergens, which is a mammoth task. Surely it would be simpler to just say on the menu that allergies aren't catered for and be done with it?

Alex Salmond was on the news last night. Obviously I'm not the first to make the connection, as this image from the interweb attests...

I see the Pope is going to celebrate Mass in Ireland. I wonder whether he also celebrates Force and Acceleration? He may as well go the whole hog and celebrate Newton's entire 2nd Law of Motion.

Friday, 24 August 2018

The Female Key Fob in Tesco

The handbag allows women to carry more than men can in their pockets - a lot more. Take this picture of Hay's key fob.

There's a single car key and, hidden in there somewhere, one more key for her office. The rest is an amalgam of ironmongery, plastic (most of which is replicated in her purse) and a wooden animal. Far more than I could carry in my pocket. I wonder if it's a female attempt at ensuring the car key can't be lost; mine go missing with an alarming frequency, but that's probably for another reason.

I've taken to entering Tesco's ground floor when skating in their covered car park at 5am. The floor is glass-smooth and absolutely fantastic for rollerblading. I'm going to have to search for more comfortable boots though - the ones I have don't half bite into one of my ankles. I think I'm going to have to look for 'soft boot' skates. While I've still not fallen on my arse yet, I'm now practising the hockey stop, but have quite a way to go before perfecting it. This isn't me, by the way.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Menopausal Soya Milk

Hay has developed a gut problem which she's managed to trace, she thinks, to milk and a post-menopausal change in her ability to process it. This has resulted in her moving to soya milk as a trial. I consider Soya milk to be the Devil's invention; however, it's brilliant for making her coffee in the evenings as I can bung it in the microwave and it never boils over (I take my coffee black). With ordinary milk, I put it on high for 2 minutes, keeping an eye on it to catch it before it boils over at anywhere from 40 seconds remaining. With the soya milk I can just forget about it till the microwave bings. Sure it boils, but it doesn't explode like cow's milk.

Damned stuff costs an arm and a leg though, but Hay is reporting fewer gut transit symptoms. That said, I blame her problems on the vast quantities of vegetables we're now eating following having bought Rukmini Iyer's The Green Roasting Tin book. Must say I'm totally sold on her books.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Plummy Songs for Nits

Have you noticed how whereas it was once considered commercial suicide - or at least being at the end of your career - for your music to be featured on a TV commercial, it's now almost de rigeur and the hallmark of success?

The plums on our plum trees this year are the smallest I've seen in 11 years, yet the trees are bending over with the sheer number. Not only that, but they're the sweetest ever.

It's always a race to harvest them as our trees have some fungal disease which makes them rot within a week of becoming ripe. It takes just one to turn and the rot spreads like wildfire. We did consider chopping them down, but eventually thought better of it. So long as we can get a decent harvest, we boil them up and freeze them for making jams and compotes later in the year.

Heard someone talking about removing nits from their child's hair while listening to the radio the other day. Can't say I've ever had nits, nor am I aware of any of my friends at school in the 60s ever having them either.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Age Related

A few days ago, I told someone I know who is in their 30s that Aretha Franklin had died, but he had not a single clue as to who she was. Is that a sign of growing old? He did recognise Respect when I played it on YouTube though, but still didn't know it was Aretha.

I'm convinced I'm raising a strain of super-agile flies in the house. We've had a plague of them this summer, along with wasps. I usually try to swat the flies with a cloth, but I've noticed of late that they're dodging the tea towel with relative ease. Either that, or I'm sowing down. Another sign of age?

Yet another sign of ageing - words that I have never come across before, such as doxxing (or doxing). which apparently means publishing private information about someone on the internet with malign intent.

Saw the funniest thing the other day - an elderly chap on a mobility scooter was trundling along the pavement headed for deepest, darkest Old Sodbury, resplendent in a hi-viz jacket emblazoned with the word SECURITY. Probably worked in Wetherspoon's.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Urban Turban Intercooler Pipes

Forgot to mention yesterday that while we were in Wells a charity called KhalsaAid - a Sikh charity - was doing an exhibition of turban tying for donations. It was strange to see middle class Brits wandering around sporting turbans.

When you think of it, turbans on women were all the rage in the late 1700s, as well as the 1970s.

One of the volunteers got chatting to us and said they were raising funds for homeless people in the UK. That brought a tear to my eye, as it's so heartening to see people wanting to cooperate across racial divides, rather than beating seven shades of shit out of each other.

I did my usual trick yesterday of buying something off eBay and not checking where it's coming from. Bought a silicon turbo intercooler pipe to replace a split one on my my car, attracted by the fact it was half the price of the others on display, only to find out that it will take 3 weeks to arrive from Hong Kong.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Demolition Man

We went to Wells yesterday, where I saw this sign:

This was the view that had been created at the cost of the demolition of someone's business and livelihood - a view of Wells Cathedral. Mind you, the person who ordered the demolition of the bakery could have bought it with the express intent of demolishing it.

This plaque is on what is now an hotel, for which the view was created.

The irony is that the space created is now used as a coffee shop for the hotel patrons.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

The Antidote to Populism

In these days of Trump and Farage we hear the terms Populist and Populism a lot, but even political scientists find it hard to define, although they do agree on its characteristic of a belief that the people know better than the so-called elite. Basically it's anti-establishment, best summed up by Trump's dictum of 'draining the swamp', which, perversely, has resulted in a swamp of truly magnificent proportions.

Populism purports to give the people all they want, free of consequences; however, what the people want frequently carries with it dichotomous propositions - such as low taxes but a high-functioning social sector, including free healthcare and public transport; the two propositions are mutually incompatible.

It can safely be said that populism has a poor track record of success and populists tend to seek power for the sake of it - no one person has all the answers. It can also safely be said that the people do not generally know better than the elite, or experts, as the people have competing priorities and varying levels of knowledge - they rarely act in the interests of something larger than themselves, such as the state.

An antidote to Populism needs a term, and I believe that is Consequentialism

Friday, 17 August 2018

Weighty Issue

I had to tighten my belt yesterday; a belt I've had for decades. I now have only one belt hole left before I'll have to invest in a new one.

The buckle tracks show just how much weight I've lost since going on the 5:2 diet and working out - 5 whole inches. I'm currently wearing 32" waist trousers, but even they are starting to fall off me, hence the need to tighten my belt yesterday. Conversely, my T shirts are straining under the extra bulk I've put on around my shoulders, chest and arms through exercising with weights. 

I've found a new exercise regime which seems to work better than my standard workout; I was doing 40 reps with the two 10 kg weights in 3 areas, five times a day - front arm curls, side arm curls and overhead pushes. Apparently it's only the last few reps, when the burn comes in, that do any good in terms of muscle bulk. The new regime capitalises on that by resting for 20 seconds after the 40 reps and then doing 20 reps, resting for another 20 seconds and then doing a final 20 reps. You really feel the effect throughout the day and it cuts the whole regime down to a single event, which is much less time consuming than doing the 40 reps 5 times throughout the day with long rest intervals. Apparently the reps done once the burn sets in are nearly twice as effective and those done without the burn.

Might invest in larger weights, as the 40 initial reps are quite easy to accomplish now. I feel a lot better too, having lost 10 kg since January; however, the irony is that if I hadn't been working out I would probably have lost more weight, as most of the fat loss has been converted into muscle bulk and muscle is heavier than fat.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Bodily Fluids

Was watching an item on the local news about police in Wiltshire introducing spit hoods for arrested ,violent suspects to prevent police being spat on. One Acting Sergeant said she'd rather be kicked and punched than spat on. I wonder whether she thinks this when she goes home and snogs her boyfriend or husband? Personally, I'd rather be spat on than punched, or indeed kicked.

It's strange how the disgust reaction is very strong when it comes to spit and other bodily fluids, yet it disappears in an instant when we fall for someone and we're more than willing to share our spit with another person we've met for perhaps only an instant. 

You know how British wildlife cameramen like to go to exotic locations like Africa, India, China etc? I wonder if African, Indian or Chinese wildlife cameramen come to Britain to shoot wildlife documentaries?

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Pink Hammertime

I somehow think No.2 Son and Hay are not going to allow me to do the laundry ever, ever, ever again.

I made the mistake of putting my Hammertime trousers in with the washing. Naturally, they bled red and turned the washing pink.

The strange thing about bleach is that if you spill it on anything you're wearing it will ruin it, but it's almost ineffectual when used to try to get rid of dye that's stained your clothing.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Sodbury 800

Despite the rain, on Sunday we went to a medieval reenactment at the local rugby club, which was part of the 800th anniversary of Chipping Sodbury being granted its market charter. Very interesting it was too - we spoke to a fletcher, a dyer, a helmet maker and a chainmail maker, among others.


There were some rather nice tournament tents on display too. Wouldn't mind one of those, but not at £1,700 a go.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Kwik Fit F1 Team

I wonder if Kwik Fit have ever considered having their own Formula 1 team? You could imagine them practicing tyre changes to try to supersede the 1.9 seconds fastest ever pitstop.

Kwik Fit Fitter: "Do you want budget or Pirelli, mate?"

Driver: "Pirelli please."

Kwik Fit Fitter: "We'll have to order those - can you come in this afternoon, but not at 1pm as I'll be on my lunch break?"

Driver: "How long will it take"

Kwik Fit Fitter: "Probably about an hour."

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Intergenerational Honey Clothing

No.2 Son, Bruno, has decided to try veganism for a week, not because he's ethical, but because his girlfriend is a vegan. I've come to the conclusion that being the only vegan in a non-vegan household is taking the piss. Vegan honey, for God's sake - it's very expensive apple juice! He can use syrup.

No.2 Son also has a pair of perfectly serviceable Quicksilver jeans that he can no longer wear because they're too short. At 18 he's well over 6 feet tall - probably about 6 feet 6 inches. Rather than take them to the charity shop, I adopted them and they fit perfectly. I couldn't imagine my father ever wearing trousers that I had cast off at age 18, For a start, he had a considerable girth that far exceeded mine, and secondly he was more into safari suits when he was my age and wouldn't have been seen dead wearing a pair of hand-flared Wranglers, Levis or Lee-Coopers.

Spotted a news headline in the Sunday Times this morning - MPs Face Sack for Taking Prostitutes to Parliament. That means very few MPs themselves will be allowed in...

Saturday, 11 August 2018

MC Hammer of the Scots (and Ukip)

I modelled my latest summer trousers for Hayley last night, but she thought I looked like MC Hammer - it's Chairmantime. Told her she can't touch this. Ideal in the hot weather though, and it is set to return.

This is the result of the latest Daily Poll from YouGov:

The Scots, especially the ginger ones, I can believe. Kippers are just fantasists or Neanderthals - either option is eminently possible.

Friday, 10 August 2018

The Eulogy

When someone has died and there's a news report, along with some words from the family of the person who has died, they're always referred to in the most glowing terms - an inspiration, a loving father, a wonderful son, etc., no matter how much of an arse they were.

I can't wait for a family member to say; "Well, he was actually an absolute shit and won't be missed." 

That will probably be reserved for my eulogy...

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Of Course

Spotted this news item on FlipBoard a few days ago.

I'd welcome your comments, but only if I can't understand them....

Starting to feel nostalgic about the heatwave...

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

One Man Went to Mow a Burqa

This burqa kerfuffle - I have little love, or indeed respect for Boris Johnson, but he is right not to apologise for his burqa comment. The burqa is not religious garb, but cultural, as evidenced by the female Muslims criticising him not wearing one themselves - one wonders why they don't wear one?

It might not have been wise of Boris, as a politician, to say what he did, but it is not something for which he needs to apologise. Dave Allen made a career out of sending up religion, for God's sake (that's irony, by the way).

Critics said his comment dehumanised Muslim women - well doesn't the burqa itself do that? It certainly de-feminises them. Boris is known for his jokes and a woman in a burqa does indeed look like a letterbox - it's an observational fact, just like a nun looks like a penguin. Ismalophobia, my arse - it's called humour and religion has no legitimate defence against humour, especially when it's all based on tripe. Religion has tried, many times, to defend itself against fact, but failed miserably. I find myself wavering between 'each person to his own' and outright religiophobia, and the more of this nonsense I hear, the more I become religiophobic and say; "A plague on all their houses." Let's get some perspective!

When all's said and done, you'd think Boris, a prime purveyor of invented nonsense about the EU, would have a soft spot for religious nonsense.

Well, the harvest is in, however, next year I'll be making the unmown areas somewhat smaller.

While leaving areas unmown was intended as a means of reducing the workload over the growing season, as well as for increasing biodiversity in the garden, it's one hell of a work up when it comes to cutting it in late summer - it's easier overall to mow it once a week.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Closing Time

Apparently some 50 pubs a week are closing down due to poor trading conditions as people choose to drink at home and business rates climb. Most of these are in the north.

I've always wanted to buy an interesting looking, defunct, country pub and convert it into a house. They're an especially a good purchase because they invariably come with what we experts call a car park, which provides plenty of land to develop for another house which can provide an income, or fund the conversion of the main pub building. A cellar is also a good advantage in a house.

It would seem that the only pubs that survive are those that adapt to the times and become principally restaurants, but that means a lot of hard work and much longer hours than just a simple drinking pub, as well as some additional skills that not all have.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Mr Whippy's Hair

So who exactly is the mysterious Mr Whippy?

He must be fabulously wealthy by now - he was purveying his ice creams since 1958, when I was a nipper.

I'm always frustrated by how long it takes the barber in my local barber's shop to clip someone's hair. Most youngsters these days have a style which involves no more than 2 settings on a shaver - very close and not so close, yet it still entails about 20 minutes of faffing around with a pair of scissors and a comb to detail it, which I'm certain entails nothing more than snipping away at thin air. Bloody annoying when you're in a queue of about 5 blokes.