Friday, 31 October 2008

The weekend approaches...

Well tonight is halloween. The weather is looking rather unpleasant - not snow or anything exciting, just rain - so the original plans are out. I was going to barbeque in the garden (having bought the last 2 sacks of charcoal in Britain) but it looks like the old George Foreman is going to have to do instead.

We have stocked up on sausages, burgers, steak and pork chops as it looks like we are being invaded by lots of kids. Funny how they gravitate towards free food isn't it?

One job that I must get done tomorrow is to get a photo done for my passport. The old one ran out about a year ago and I need one so I can go to Malta with the students next Easter. I have been to Malta 3 times before as a member of staff, but this year I will be there as a student. Should be a blast!

FIL Update: He is back home now and feeling really well. His local hospital is really good. Talking to a few local people who have had heart problems it seems that the treatment he got in the first 2 hours after being admitted can take 4-6 months here in Kent, involving trips to London hospitals because the local ones just don't have the equipment. The media talk about the "Post Code Lottery" of Healthcare in the UK - what more proof do you need!

Anyway, have a great weekend, whatever you are doing!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The 6 strange things meme...

Teresa tagged me for this meme. I don't intend to tag anyone else, so I won't waste space with the rules - HAH! I am such a rebel!

Basically I have to tell you 6 strange things about myself that I haven't said before. Could be a tough one! We will see.

1. Although generally shy and retiring, when I was in bands (many years ago) I was rather different when playing in front of an audience. My favourite stage wear was stripped to the waist, jeans and a red and black woolly hat with a large bobble on the top. No photos exist, thankfully!

2. When I was young I never wanted to have children.

3. When I was young I was an incredibly fussy eater - discovering Chinese food changed all that. Now I will try just about anything once.

4. I read while walking down the road, glancing up so I don't crash into things and people or get run over.

5. We were once planning to move to the Shetland Isles - those little islands off the top of Scotland. The only thing that stopped us was being given a permanent contract in my current job!

6. Some people think I am crazy, but this is not true. The best psychiatrists in the area tried to work that out when I was a teenager and decided I wasn't! Hah, so there!

Did it! Time to do a bit of shopping on my way home now!


Wednesday, 29 October 2008


The weather is cold and clear - not unpleasant if you dress sensibly!

I am hunting books and information for my first assignment - there is a big gap in my timeline that needs to be filled!

I just added some data to a CD that already had data on it. XP would have been more than happy to do this, but Vista has just deleted everything...

I am just about to eat the last of the chocolates that Terri sent me - it was delicious!

Off to the library again!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

My Major Award!

When Terri told me that she was going to send me a Major Award, I was really excited.

It arrived on Friday:

No, the film above is not me and my family! I know it should be obvious but I sometimes wonder about the readers that I attract ;-)

Oh don't pout, you know I don't mean it!

Here I am, with my prize:

Hope you are all having a great day!

I'm so busy...

Oh so busy
So busy
And pretty
And Gay!

Hm not so sure about the last bit, but you get the idea.

Lots of work and studying going on, plus my FIL had a heart attack on Sunday. Not a major one but the hospital have kept him in for a few days, done a procedure that clears the arteries and sorted ot medication for him so he should be OK, fingers crossed!

More later today - hopefully a vblog about the Major Award that I won in Terri's competition!

Back soon!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Up the Downs...

This morning I was out walking with some of our students, in an area called Wye Downs - Wye is a large village/small town, and Downs is a name used for lines of smallish hills.

This valley is called The Devil's Kneadingtrough. I love names like that, don't you?

We also found Eeyore's House!
It was a great way to spend a morning - we must do more of that sort of thing...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


Last night I was racing around town on a huge Harley Davidson chopper, cruising down the high street, racing along the coast road, the wind in my hair. Born to be Wild! HA!

Then I looked down and saw that I wasn't actually sitting on a Harley. I was sitting on Custard, my dog.

Is it time for that padded cell, I wonder?

Tomorrow I am going for a walk in the country with some of the tutors and the new students - hope the weather is good - if so I will post some photos. Should be good.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Tuesday, here I come!

Thanks for all the well wishing yesterday!

I certainly feel MUCH better today.

Last night I ran into the mother of all rain storms, the roads were awash, running like rivers on the hills. I did a d-tour to do a bit of shopping on the way and bought a few naughty things to make us feel better, including half-price chocolate...

This morning the weather is colder but the wind and rain have gone, so it is good for cycling - yay!

Not that I am feeling better I can get on with work and assignments, and in between, wondering about Christmas. We are thinking of going back to our buffet style Christmas eating this year. No huge lumps of meat and turkeys, just grazing as we feel like it. Makes things much less stressful and the kids really like it that way too. Hey, if the weather is OK I might even be able to do a bit of a barbeque! I am totally hooked, as you might be able to see, and I am going to stock up on charcoal before it vanishes from the shops for the winter. The way our winters have been recently I think there should be plenty of opportunity for outdoor cooking.

Rock Chef is back!

Monday, 20 October 2008


Feeling a bit crumby today. Slept most of yesterday, then had an attack of "the runs" in the early hours. Great! Not been that great all day, but mega busy just to make things even more miserable! And it's raining, now, too...

Hope to be more chirpy tomorrow.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Sing! Sing a song!

I have started work on my first assignments! Yay! They aren't due in until December, but if I don't get going now I just know that I will end up doing them the night before the deadline, so here goes, aren't I being good! I have started working on maps and posters and have just raided the library...

Someone that we recently did a really big favour for has thrown it all back in our faces - again! Why do we keep doing things like this? Why don't we just shrug and say "tough, sort it yourselves"? Why are we always surprised when they don't even say thank you?

Played a great game last night - a role playing game (like the famous Dungeons and Dragons) about devil worshippers and stuff. Haven't played it for over 20 years and wasn't sure if I would still enjoy it but it was great fun, especially when we were trying to hide from the Police but I tripped over a trash can instead and they found me sitting in the road with mouldy banana skins all over me. We haven't found the bad guys yet, so we will be playing again soon to see if we succeed, die or go mad in the process.

Hah, I knew there was something else!

As I came into Canterbury this morning I was passing the usual stream of parents and children going to school - the stressed parents shouting at their kids to hurry up, the crying kids who suddenly realised they had left something at home, etc, etc. Then I heard someone singing. A young woman was singing at the top of her voice, with her kids skipping along beside her. I slowed and watched them pass, my heart filling with joy at the sight and sound. One of the girls looked at me and told her mom that I was laughing at her.

"No", I said. "I am smiling because she has made me happy."

The girl smiled at that, and skipped off.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


My job is very varied - basically my role is to make sure that things run as smoothly as possible for everyone else, so I get a lot of different things to do.

This morning, I started off using a GIS (basically maps on computers - Hi Sid, please don't be offended by the simple description!) to analyse where people at a particular event came from. This is the start of a project where we will dig deeper and find out how much they spent, some socio-economic profiling etc.

My final job for the day? Sharpening a load of pencils for an exercise that the students are doing in the morning.

Odd? Probably, but I love it!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Run-away mouth...

Yesterday morning, I was riding in to work when I saw a car emerging from a drive-way. Reflex told me that he was going to shoot out and try to get me, and sure enough, if I hadn't hit the brakes and lost a load of rubber he would have side-swiped me into a wall.

As he hit the accelerator I swore at him and wondered if I might catch up with him later on when the traffic gets congested.

Sure enough, a mile further on I passed him, stopping to read his number place and giving the driver the evil eye.

On I went, stopping off at a supermarket to grab some drink and snacks. Who stood right behind me at the checkout? You guessed it.

"Are you the cyclist who just came through Tyler Hill?"

"Yes, I am."

"I am so sorry, I just didn't see you."

I was about to say "Oh that's OK", when my mouth openned all by itself.

"Well that's the problem isn't it? No-one sees the cyclist do they?"

Then the woman on the checkout joined in.

"Look at the size of me! They say they can't see me either!"

The poor guy was then subjected to a joint rant by the woman and myself, including my favourite statement that "I assume that all drivers are out to get me, and this morning proved my point!"

At one point he said that he had heard what I called him, to which I said that if he thought that was bad he should think himself lucky that I was in a good mood today.

We eventually let him go, I told him I was OK, I am used to it and we wished each other a good day.

Poor guy.

Monday, 13 October 2008


One of my favourite blog writers has recently had a problem with a parent, so I thought I would share the latest installment of my problems with my dad.

He can't seem to cope with having space in his garden, which is a shame as it is quite big!

He gave my wife and I a section to use as a vegetable plot.

He had us put a shed on part of it - remember X-treme Shed Building?

He had us get another, bigger, shed put in too.

The next thing I know, he has asked my younger brother to order him a 10 foot long greenhouse. It has been ordered, can we assemble it when it arrives?

It arrives. Looking at the mass of metal and plastic we say that it will need a base to stand on - paving slabs and sand will be needed - younger brother has a truck, he should be able to get it.

Then my older brother chips in - don't use paving slab, use CONCRETE!

At this point I declare that if it is to be concrete, my older brother can do it - NOT ME!

Now, this is all very chaotic. And the worst part? My younger brother had it all under control in the first place - HE has already ordered the paving slabs! If I had gone and got some more, we would have had a massive pile of them!

Why the chaos?

My dad has, apparently, asked ALL THREE OF US to put up his BL%%&$ greenhouse! If my mom hadn't been going between us all I am sure that one of us would have turned up with a ton of slabs or concrete only to find the job done already!

Parents, eh?

Thursday, 9 October 2008

The Results of my Shoe Research

OK, here are the results. I think they are quite amazing, in lots of ways!

Now that some of you have had a chance to draw your own conclusions, I will put in a few comments of my own...

For each question I have listed the answers with the number of people giving that answer.

1. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

Not a lot/20 = 3
30 to 40 = 3
50 plus = 3
Too many to count = 2

I just find this mind-boggling! So many shoes! Where do you keep them? How do you keep track of them? Do you ever find that, somehow, you have 3 pairs the same?

2. How often do you buy new shoes?

Once a year = 1
Twice a year = 1
Every 2-3 months = 4
At least monthly = 4
Every chance I get = 2

Monthly shoe-shopping? Again, I find this a totally alien concept. In my house it is generally a case of twice a year or if desperate. This means that you lot are buying shoes more often than I buy guitar strings!

3. What prompts a visit to the shoe shop?

Replacing old/broken ones = 4
A good sale = 2
Need shoes to match a new outfit = 5
Impulse = 5
Going cold turkey, not buying shoes right now = 1

Half of you buy shoes on impulse? No wonder I have never seen a shoe shop go out of business!

4. Does your partner ever question the need for more shoes?

No = 7
Not if he doesn't know about it = 1
Yes = 2
Yes but I distract him = 1

Lots of comments here along the lines of "no sensible man would ever dare to question the need for more shoes".

At least most guys seem to do the sensible thing and just let you get on with it, and at least one of the questioners only seems half-hearted about it, allowing himself to get distracted. No indication of what form this distraction takes, but I can probably make a fair guess ;-)

5 . Given the opportunity, would you be the new Imelda Marcos?

No = 4
Yes = 3
I have been called this = 1
Who? = 2

An even split between Yes and No, really. And I thought this question would produce a chorus of "No"s! I think it was a couple of my younger readers who did not know who she was, bless them.

6. Shoes or sex?

Sex = 6
Shoes = 1
Sex while wearing shoes = 3
Depends on the shoes = 2

As I expected, sex won. I was not expecting the high "sex while wearing shoes" vote, or those who might actually find the shoes more interesting! If you were one of these, perhaps you should experiment with sex while wearing shoes? It might be the start of a whole new era in your love life! This is Dr Ruth signing off!

So, what do you think?

Shoe update


9 sets of answers so far - looking really interesting, with some surprising answers!

Any more? If so, please answer the questions below!


Wednesday, 8 October 2008


So, what is it about shoes and women?

For me, shoes are something that stop my legs wearing down. Nothing more.

Many women seem to be obsessed - just look at some of the comments on my last post! Women even post Shoe Porn on their blogs! What would you all think if I did that?

So, to help the male understanding of this phenomenon, can I ask you all, male or female, to answer the following questions - preferably by email to , to protect the innocent? I will analyse and post the results.

1. How many pairs of shoes do you own?

2. How often do you buy new shoes?

3. What prompts a visit to the shoe shop?

4. Does your partner ever question the need for more shoes?

5 . Given the opportunity, would you be the new Imelda Marcos?

6. Shoes or sex?

Thank you for participating!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008


Yesterday a female colleague of mine saw a wonderful pair of shoes that she really, really wanted to buy, but did not NEED.

Today she somehow broke the shoes that she was wearing.

Guess what? She suddenly NEEDED a new pair of shoes!

She says it was Fate.

I think it was SABOTAGE!

What do YOU think?

Monday, 6 October 2008

Things to do...

For the last few days I have had lots of things trying to get my attention, pushing and jostling to get to the front. In no particular order:

Reading for my studies. I have got a small list of things that I need to read and take notes from. I meant to bring them to work and do it in my lunch break, but forgot today. Will try and remember tomorrow.

Finish rebuilding my V-bass. It is all wired up and working, but the control panel is just a strip of white plastic with the switches etc stuck through it. I have got hold of a nice peice of alluminium/alluminum/aloominum to replace it but I need to cut and drill it which will be noisey and will, therefore, have to wait until the weekend. I wanted to do it this weekend, but I just never found the time.

Do a bit more recording in the Rock Shed. I find this works best in short bursts of around 30 minutes so I hope to fit in a session most evenings from now onwards. I have a couple of my own songs that I would like to record and get nailed down properly, but I would also love to do a version of Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way", swapping the guitar bit that he does with the tube in his mouth for a bass guitar bit.

Paint some more toy soldiers. I have been a total slacker at this all summer and an wondering when I will get the urge to do it again. I have all sorts of nice things that I could paint, from medieval Swiss to an army of Elves! I would love to get both of these armies done, but...

I am sure there are more things too - let's see how it goes, shall we? No point getting stressed!

Friday, 3 October 2008


Well the weather here is horrible - cold, raining and generally miserable. Not good cycling weather!

My youngest is 10, yes 10, on Monday so the weekend will mainly be about him - getting the last few presents, doing a cake, etc.

He is a great little guy, well not so little these days, being taller than some of his teachers. He thinks and acts like a teenager a lot of the time, often being more mature than his older brother. In fact this is often his undoing as we sometimes forget just how young he is and expect more from him than we really should!

I can't wait for him to open one of his presents, the latest Star Wars game for the Wii with a lightsabre attachment for the controller. Wonder if I should test it to make sure it works...

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Common sense reigns supreme

Wake-up you sleepy head...

Bet none of you know what song that line comes from!

Anyway, there we were, half asleep.

"What's the time?"

I looked at the clock.

"Twenty five past seven."

"Oh, that's OK then."

"We'd better get up."


I was getting increasingly confused - was it Sunday or something? We should have been up long ago.

"Because it is twenty five past seven", I said with a bit more emphasis.

"Hm... SHIT!"

Suddenly it was all action.

Apparently, between leaving my mouth and reaching my wife's ears, the word "past" became "to". There must be some strange explanation for this. Any suggestions?