Friday, 30 May 2008

Don't trust...

The comments to my last post got me thinking.

Over the years we learn not to trust certain people and things.

My mom always says things like "I don't trust him, his eyes are too close together".

We don't trust computers, or politicians and apparently a lot of people don't trust bloggers! Imagine that!

As a long-term Mac fan I don't trust Windows and wish my Mac could do everything I wanted it to do.

We don't trust salesmen, especially if they come calling door to door.

We don't trust other kids to be as nice as our own are.

We don't trust weather forecasters.

We don't trust newspapers, they often lie or put too much spin on a story.

One of the funniest ones I heard recently was a woman declaring that she did not trust another woman "because she is too thin". What? Why? I wish I had the nerve to ask!

So, who/what don't you trust?

Give it to me straight, Doc, I can take it! What? Really? I didn't mean it! You should have lied to me!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Tonight is going to be wet and wild!

The last few days, basically since Sunday, have been very wet - lots and lots of rain, with a thunder storm on Tuesday evening that was so loud it set off car alarms!

Anyway, this morning it looked pretty good - a slight haze of cloud, gentle breeze... The forecast on the TV was good, so I set off in a fleece jacket and t-shirt, quickly losing the jacket.

By lunchtime a fast drizzle had set in.

Soon after that it was clear that the weather girl had lied to me.

Her she is. Would you believe that she was capable of such a thing? No, me neither!

So here I sit, listening to the rain hammering down outside knowing that, unlike Fat Jedi Cat, I will soon have to go out and get totally soaked, having rashly left my water proofs at home.

Still, it is only water isn't it. And it is warm. And it stops when it gets to the skin, I mean, I'm not Sponge Bob Squarepants!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

It's the end of the World as we know it...

On Monday we decided that our food stocks needed to be replenished, so on Tuesday morning we headed off to the local Tesco for some serious shopping.

We had only been there for a few minutes (still in the computer supplies section buying a new DVD/RW unit) when the power went off.

Then it came back as the back-up kicked in. Announcements came over the speakers thanking customers for their patience while the checkouts re-booted (or not in a lot of cases!) and we continued. It was as we reached the salads that I realized all was not right - the display was being stripped by staff as the chillers were not running. I grabbed some before it all went. Then we came to the chiller and freezer sections - and these were starting to be blocked off as they also had no power and the manager wanted to prevent them being opened to keep the temperatures down.

A disaster - how could we re-stock our freezers now?

So we trolled around for a while, getting other stuff while they tried to fix the power.

Eventually the power returned but they made no moves to unblock the aisles, and time was running out - our lift was due soon.

So I did it. I am not proud of it, but there was nothing else for it.

I pushed aside a barrier, went into one of the off-limits aisles and grabbed a load of beef and chicken.

Yes, I stuck my fingers up at The Man and did what I had to do.

Watch out for me on Most Wanted!

Friday, 23 May 2008

Hello Darlin'

Alright, Babe?

Any messages for me, Luv?

In a recent survey in the UK, these were voted as being the most annoying things that men call their female work colleagues - Darling, Babe and Luv.

I must admit that I would never dare to call my female colleagues any of these things, or anything like them! First, it is just plain rude, second I would probably get fired for sexual harassment and finally, if my wife found out I would find myself suddenly able to sing soprano!

So, guys - do you use names like this for your female colleagues?

Girls - would you find these or similar things annoying and/or offensive?

What is the worst thing you have ever been called at work?

In a previous job I was once called a.... well, let's say it began with C... In my current job things are much more civilised - the worst thing was that for my first 3 years here one of the lecturers kept calling me David, the name of my predecessor. I always wondered if he ever called his wife by the wrong name!

PS - having a long weekend - back on Wednesday - YAY ME!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

A Guest Blogger - Fat Jedi Cat

I am Simon, The Cathedral Cat, also known as "Fat Jedi Cat".

Feed me prawns. You are not hungry. You do not want to eat your lunch. Give it to me.

To find out more about me, visit:

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Fat Jedi Cat update

I met the cat again at lunchtime and he got really excited when he realised I had prawns - he love them, actually climbing up onto the seat so he could be closer to them!

And I found out his name - one of the Cathedral groundsmen told me. He is called Simon. Now is that a dumb name for a cat or what?

I love trees...

There is something wonderful about trees - they are something that does not seem to have a drawback - unless you count sweeping up leaves or having your car crushed when one fall on it,I guess.

They make the world beautiful, they clean the air, and even after they have been cut down they have uses, either for burning or turning into wonderful things such as furniture or guitars!

I love trees.

This is my favourite tree in Canterbury...

Isn't it great?

To get an idea of scale, look at the seats in this picture...

OK, it is not a Giant Red Wood, it is an Oak, but it is still pretty impressive, I think.

I stopped by to take these pics on my way to work this morning, so here I am giving it a quick hug - still wearing my helmet.

Hug a tree today!

Monday, 19 May 2008

The weekend...

Saturday was my little girl's 12th birthday, so we were up early giving presents and having the breakfast of her choice - pain au chocolat, mainly.

My wife then took Custard the dog for his morning walk while the kids got ready to go out. We were outside Pizza Hut (my daughter's choice) at opening time, the only time on a Saturday you can get a table without waiting, and were the first ones in. We had nachos, garlic ciabatta and a mixed platter for starters, then 2 large stuffed crust pizzas, then profiteroles and ice cream. Our waitress had the kids in stitches, being incredibly happy, friendly and helpful - the kids were like "Oh my God, what is wrong with her, she must really love working here, or is she on drugs?" I just thought she was great and gave her a good tip. Last time I thought I was going to die of thirst and had to crawl to the counter whispering "water, water" through cracked lips. Well, I might be exaggerating a little but you get the idea...

Then we waddled out into the town to do some shopping - I took the boys to look at computer games while my wife took the Birthday Girl off to spend some of her money on girly stuff. When everyone had finished we joined up again and headed for home.

In the evening, my wife and I watched "I am Legend", which I rather enjoyed, though my wife thought it was not as good as the book.

Sunday was intended to be nice and restful but around 10am we got a call from my dad. We have planted some vegetables in his garden and he said that the plants were all coming up and the pigeons were coming down and eating them all - we needed to get some nets over them very quickly! So we dashed to the garden centre, grabbed some netting, dashed back and put up the nets. The dashing was all in vain, though - only 2 things were actually coming up and some pigeons had FLOWN OVER the garden. Somehow, between seeing this and reaching the phone, my dad's imagination had run riot and made it into something from that Hitchcock movie! Oh well. One day we will learn. Meanwhile, the kids, especially my daughter, were entertaining themselves with their new stuff and seemed oblivious to our ordeal.

So a good weekend for all really, if we steer away from the netting incident, but I guess you can't have everything.

Friday, 16 May 2008

My New Name!

I recently tried, very sucessfully, to make American Indian Fry Bread (recipe here). In England, if you just say "Indian" everyone immediately thinks that you are talking about something or someone that comes from India, so I therefore feel obliged to add "American" to clarify the situation...

Anyway, I blogged about it and the wonderful Chachi...

... who is of Indian descent (and is, I believe, eating Fry Bread in the photo) decided that I should now call myself Chief Rock Chef. Well, who can argue with something like that? Not me!

Thank you Chachi!


Wow, it has been quite a week, hasn't it? I feel exhausted! But I can't rest yet - tomorrow is my little girl's 12th Birthday! Yes, another birthday!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Rock Chef's Anti-Aging Secret

It seems that were ever you look these days there is someone trying to sell you something that holds the secret of looking younger.

It is everywhere - it might be something you eat, a cream or lotion that you rub into your skin, or an electrical device like a mini-sander or something that electrocutes your skin cells. It might be something (possibly extracted from you own ass) that you pay a quack doctor hundreds to inject into your face, or maybe the quack doctor will even get to slice your face open and re-stitch it so that you always look like you have been pleasantly surprised!

It all seems to revolve around removing or reducing wrinkles and according to the most recent ads on TV, the way to do this is to get some sort of 'plumping effect' that smooths everything out.

So I have been thinking. Oh shut up! I do have good ideas sometimes!

As I said, I have been thinking. Looking younger might be easier and more enjoyable than anyone has so far imagined.

I will share my secret theory with you.

Here goes...

Keep going....

Nearly there...

So. What do you think?

This is my theory.

Eat one of these each day and you will soon see the "plumping effect"...

What? Oh, come on! I thought it was a great idea!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

To the woman in the silver car

Did anyone ever tell you that overtaking on a BLIND CORNER is DUMB?

And yes, I was swearing at you, thank you so much for pulling along side me, on the wrong side of the road, still on the BLIND CORNER, to ask. Doing that confirmed my suspicion that you really are a "dumb £$%&"!

I must say one thing - your guardian angel must have been looking out for you this morning. If the car that appeared around the BLIND CORNER coming towards you had been travelling a smidgeon faster, both you and your stupid little silver car would both have been history!

Thank you for listening.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Just a bit of a wreck...

Nothing to blog about really today - too busy at work and all I can think about is Ali and Chris who, if you don't already know, are about to have a baby!

I have been chewing my nails even worse than usual today, and might have to start on my toes soon - assuming I can reach! If not I might have to chew someone else's nails...

Monday, 12 May 2008

Of crushers and Plains Indian Fry Bread

Had a busy and entertaining weekend - here are some highlights:

On Saturday morning I foudn that our back-up freezer had switched itself off for some reason, so we had a load of half-thawed food to eat over the weekend. Luckily, some of the meat could be cooked and re-frozen, so it wasn't as much of a disaster as it could have been.

On Saturday evening I made Plains Indian Fry Bread - inspired by reading and watching Rachael's blog, I found a recipe on the web and made a batch up to see what it was like. It came out great - we ate it with sugar and cinamon, adding a bit of jam in some cases. The kids said they were like doughnuts. I can't wait to try them with taco meat now, while my wife is talking about adding cheese and onion to the dough. I think we will be having lots of Fry Bread this summer!

On Sunday morning we cleared out the shed, ready for summer use. The shed was another one of my wife's DIY projects. It is insulated, wall papered, carpeted and painted inside, with electric light, sofa and satellite TV. Over the winter it became something of a dumping ground, so Sunday morning saw us loading up a friend's trailer and going to the local dump, where we had fun chucking everything into a huge crusher and waving goodbye to it.

Then I tried my hand as a lumberjack. When my wife and I finally got around to getting married (this summer will see our 23rd anniversary of being together, and our 7th Wedding anniversary) we bought a eucalyptus tree, which I carried home and planted in the back garden. It is now almost as tall as our house so we decided it was time to trim it to stop it getting any taller. At first I was a bit uncertain, but really got into it, to the amazement of my wife - I think she was quite impressed, to tell the truth ;-)

By the afternoon we were all really hot and tired, so I volunteered to cycle into town to grab some fried chicken for dinner. So I jumped on the bike, zoomed down town, went to lock the bike and found I was carrying my wife's keys. Back on the bike, back home, found my own keys, back down town. Hm, really hot and thirsty now. Into Safeways, grabbed a drink for now and some more coke for home. Got the chicken, only to find that the were giving away more coke, so I struggled home with 4 big bottles of coke, plus the chicken in my rucksack. Still, it was worth it - I love fried chicken!

After that there was nothing left to do except slob on the sofa and watch TV. Number 1 Son insisted on watching The A-Team, which he has suddenly developed a love for. We saw 2 excellent episodes, one featuring a home made flame-thrower, the other hot air balloons made from garbage sacks and hair dryers. What a show!

As the evening cooled down I spent an hour or so painting toy soldiers while everyone watched the latest part of Lost...

And then to bed for a well earned night's sleep.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Oh yeah....

Today has been another gloriously sunny day, here in The Garden of England.

At lunchtime I went to my usual food bar and bought a chicken, bacon and salad ciabatta. The guy who runs the place is a New Yorker, and really knows how to put a sandwich together. Guaranteed to hit the spot.

I then took the short stroll to the Cathedral grounds...

...and found a nice seat in the shade of a huge oak tree. I must post pictures of some of our trees because they are wonderful. This one must be around 300 years old, about 8 feet across and really gnarled.

I took a few moments to actually appreciate the amazing building that is the Cathedral, one of the most holy Christian sites in the world. This is a good place to be.

So, I settled down with my "sandwich" and another chapter of my book.

I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. A rather well-fed black and white cat was heading my way. He had given up trying to get bits of someone else's lunch and was trying his luck with me.

He did not try to get sympathy, he clearly knew he was too fat to get that, so he just sat in front of me, watching.

I tried to ignore him, but there was something about him - maybe he was a Jedi or something. I pulled out a piece of bacon and offered it to him. Slowly and delicately he maneuvered his head to take it (he did not move his body, that was clearly too much effort) and chomped on it. He seemed to enjoy it. He even somehow moved a bit closer without seeming to move, possibly sliding forward like a snail or something.

Then I found myself offering him some chicken. This was what he really wanted, what must have drawn him over in the first place, so I sat there eating the rest of my lunch, taking a bite, pulling off a piece of chicken for my new friend, taking another bite, etc.

When it was clear that there was no more chicken to be had, he found a cool patch of grass at the foot of the tree and went to sleep.

Oh yeah.

It is a hard life for some!

Oh yeah.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

The Terri-Terri YouYou

I am claiming Terri's You You Award!

Let's rewind to the weekend - it is Sunday morning, the kids are all playing video games of some sort and my wife and I decide that we should do some final sorting out so things are good when the electricians arrive on Tuesday.

My wife starts on our bedroom while I head for the bathroom. He is well into the second bedroom by the time I finish and head to the downstairs loo. By the time I finish the loo, my wife has finished the 3rd bedroom and is going through the living room like a thing possessed. I head to the kitchen, hit the music and grab a mini cheese cake from the fridge...

Sound familiar, Terri?

Well, at least I wasn't watching TV....

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


Lots of reasons to go "phew" right how!

The house re-wiring is done and dusted - thanks to my wife's amazing pre-planning, they got in, did the job and got out again by midday! We were stunned. Everything was back in its place by the time the kids got home from school.

Summer is here and will be here for at least the rest of the week. Hot sun, cool breeze, blue skies...

Picked up a very cheap copy of the book "We were soldiers once... and young". I have wanted to read this ever since I saw the Mel Gibson movie that was based on it. Only a few chapters into it but it is really well written and does not pull any punches. Well worth a read if you want to learn a bit about real life in Vietnam.

My latest toy soldier project is taking shape nicely - Hannibal (complete with elephants) vs Rome. The figures for this are really small (6mm, or around a quarter of an inch tall) but paint up remarkably well. Will try to post photos when I have more done.

On Saturday my 11 year old daughter went to the cinema with her friends, and they were supposed to be coming back on the 5pm bus. Then we got the call. Her friends had decided they were going to stay later, what should she do? We did not like the idea of her getting the bus alone - she might get the wrong one, miss her stop or meet up with one of the weirdos that you sometimes get. We certainly did not want her staying in town after the shops closed - it turns into something like "Escape from LA", with pub brawls (recently 5 were imprisoned after a fight in one bar, while another bar has been closed permanently after a brawl involving 50, yes 50, people), and gangs of teenagers everywhere, drinking, hurling abuse, fighting and having sex in the parks. NO WAY! It is at times like this that we wish we had a car. So I ran to town to meet her and catch the bus back with her. I cycle a lot, but running has never been my thing. I made pretty good time, though, and have started thinking about having the odd jog from now on.

So - PHEW!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Another dumb idea!

I had a really dumb idea on the way to work today, a sort of Meme in reverse - a YouYou. Maybe it has been done before? I don't know!

Either way, his is how it works.

Design an award, something like my attempt below:

Post it on your blog, and challenge readers to do the YouYou.

Over the next few days, readers who have accepted the challenge look out for events in their lives that remind them of the relevant blogger, in this case ME! For example, you might find that your children start telling you to turn your music down, or find that you get rained on every single time you leave the house...

They then blog about the event and claim the award.

So, how about it? Any takers?

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Impending DOOM!!!!!

The threat has been lurking for a few weeks now, but we have been trying to ignore it.

The thought has just been too horrible to contemplate.

But you can't fight off the inevitable for ever...

Next Tuesday, the day after our May Day Bank Holiday (yes, I am having another long weekend) our house is being re-wired. A team is coming in and they do the whole house in a single day!

Their advice is not much use - they tell us to move everything away from the walls, into the middle of the rooms, while upstairs they also want to be able to pull up floor boards so they can get to the ground floor lights! So I guess the bedroom furniture has to sort of float up in the air somewhere.

I am taking the day off so that I can help move things around as the electricians need access to certain places - there is no other way, we have so much stuff in our house it is not possible to just move it all at once.

Still, I guess I should be looking on the good side of this. Once it is done we will be able to switch the landing light on and off from upstairs, and we will be gaining a few extra sockets in useful places.

I just wish I could just skip the day and go straight to having it done.

Wish us luck!