Thursday, 28 January 2010

The best light show ever

Continuing from the last post, I thought I would expand on the time we saw Steps.

It was an outdoor concert, in the grounds of a stately home.

There were thousands of people there, mainly families.

Toilets were in the form of mobile units. The dominance of families meant that the ones designated for women had massive queues while the mens ones had no queue. My daughter and I started a mini revolution and after I checked that one was empty, my daughter followed by a throng of other women and children took it over and put it to good use. On organiser briefly tried to stop it but soon thought better of it...

Anyway, as it was a British summer, we were prepared for rain as well as baking sunshine. Good thing too! As Steps, the main group, came on stage the heavens opened and it poured with rain, so we put on the waterproofs. Shortly after a thunderstorm started over the sea a few miles away behind the stage. The on-stage lightshow was pretty impressive, but adding lighting too made it amazing. We sang, danced and clapped in the rain and mud, our spirits undampened. It was a great show, far better than I had expected. A day with my daughter I will never forget.

Kiss of Death?

When my older daughter was in her early and mid teens, I used to take her to concerts to see bands that she liked. She didn't like indoor concerts - something to do with her dyspraxia we think - but each summer there was an open air, all day festival near us that featured the sort of people that she liked at the time.

We saw Steps:

Who were surprisingly good, to be honest! At the time we felt very lucky because they split up shortly after. Two members of Steps went on to become a duo, "H and Clare". We saw them too, just before they split up.

Then we were supposed to see 5ive:

But they split up just before the concert, so the main act became Atomic Kitten:

Who split up just after we saw them.

Starting to see a pattern here? Hm, me too!

And the proof that we are not imagining it? One year the main group was Westlife:

A year earlier these had been my daughter's favourite group, but she had moved on and didn't want to see them. Westlife are still going strong...

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Well gosh darn it!

I had a great idea for a vblog today - the Great River Stour is running high at the moment and I was going to stand on one of the bridges and show you how mighty and impressive our river is!

Stand aside, Mississippi!

The Great Stour is in flood!

You should see it!

But when I got there I found that my camera was too cold to work.


Oh well, back to the drawing board!

I will try again tomorrow...

Oh yes, AND I am wearing my Oscar the Grouch t-shirt! I was going to post a pic of that too!

Wednesdays, eh? What can you do?

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Should I change my email address?

OK, I will start at the beginning - a very good place to start...

Once upon a time I was playing Dungeons and Dragons. I created a new character, and using dice to generate the letters I gave him a name - Mawali.

More recently, but still a few years ago, I created an email account with Yahoo. I wanted to call myself Mawali, but Yahoo said it was taken - do I want to call myself Mawaliuk? Sure!

Only recently have I discovered what Mawali means. It means a non-Arab who follows Islam. Suddenly Mawaliuk sounds very like IslamUK!

Should I change it?

Monday, 25 January 2010

Another dumb meme


I stole this from wigsf.

1. High heels or boots?

Depends who's wearing them.

2. What time did you get up this morning?


3. Diamonds or pearls?

Diamonds I guess - anything that came from an oyster has got to be a bit icky!

4. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

Wow, that's a tough one! Probably the last Indiana Jones movie!

5. What is your favorite T.V. show?

Survivor - life after 99% of humans have died in a pandemic.

6. What do you usually have for breakfast?

Cereal of some sort or cheese and marmite on toast.

7. What is your middle name?

Richard. When I was a kid I liked to think this made me Richard the Lionheart!

8. What food do you dislike?

A lot of sea food disgusts me.

9. What is your favorite CD at the moment?

Not sure I've got one!

10. Favorite Clothing?

My Oscar the Grouch t-shirt!

11. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?

I would tour the USA and Canada, visiting lots of friends whether they liked it or not!

12. Are you an organized person?

Absolutely not!

13. Where would you like to retire?

An English village - or Malta.

14. What was your most recent memorable birthday?

The first one I spent with Mrs RC.

15. What are you going to do when you finish this?

Go home.

16. When is your BIRTHDAY?

In the middle of the summer - roll on summer!

17. Are you a morning person or a night person?


18. Do you have any animals?

1 dog called Custard.

19. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share?

Not really...

20. What did you want to be when you were little?

I remember thinking it would be great to own a toy shop.

21. What is your favorite flower?

Orchids are pretty cool.

22. What is a date on the calendar to which you are looking forward?

8 May.

23. What was the last thing you ate?

A Snickers bar.

24. Do you wish upon stars?

No - they are just balls of burning gas.

25. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

I would be the white one that isn't white anymore because it has been rubbing against the other ones for too long.

26. How is the weather right now?

It's dark and I can't see!

27. Last person you spoke to on the phone?

Some guy.

28. Favorite soft drink?


29. Favorite restaurant?


30. Hair color?

Brown with one or two grey ones.

31. What was your favorite toy as a child?

Action Man!

32. Summer or winter?

Summer, please!

33. Chocolate or vanilla?


34. Coffee or tea?

Hate both. Yes, I know it is unheard of for an Englishman to hate tea, but I do!

35. Favorite food of all time?

Chinese Duck with pancakes.

36. When was the last time you cried?

Sometime after I lost my daughter - stopped at some point I guess!

37. What is under your bed?

A drawer with my undies and t-shirts in it.

38. What did you do last night?

Watched Big Brother, painted some model horses for my soldiers.

39. What are you afraid of?

Not much.

40. Best quality you have?

Love and compassion.

41. How many years at your current job?


42. Favorite day of the week ?


43. Positive or negative?

Have to be positive.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Weekend again!

I think that this week mugged me - where did it go? I had such plans for it! I was going to write an essay and everything!

Ah well!

So, it is the weekend again - what will I be doing?

Well tonight is, of course, pizza night so later on I will be making dough and sauce, grating cheese, chopping salami, etc. This will be "helped" by a few bottles of the beer that I had left over from Christmas. Mmmm beeeeer.

Saturday will (weather permitting) be the first barbeque of the year. Not sure if the kids will want to eat outside - they will probably sit in the living room playing XBox and Wii while I do manly stuff in the garden.

I will also be doing more reading for the delayed essay - American Agriculture - such a riveting topic :-)

I also want to start work on some new toy soldiers that I bought today. They promise to be really nice when I finish them, so watch out for pictures some time soon.

What else? Oh yes, my daughter will be getting more bass guitar lessons. I started teaching her a while back but she seemed to lose interest. Knowing that it is not a good idea to push her, I let it slide. Then, the other evening at a school open evening where she was choosing what she wants to study for the next 2 years she opted for a huge music course. Really? Cool! We had better get lessons going again then! The reply? Turns out she has been practicing regularly the whole time and knows a couple of songs by heart now! I was amazed and delighted! That girl never stops surprising me. Of all our kids she is the one that I only seem to think I know, because every so often she shows a facet that I was totally unaware of.

Anyway, better sign off now!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Coping strategies

I am weary. Tired, sort of. Not sure why. I am not having trouble riding the bike, but when I sit quietly somewhere my eyes want to close so I can drift off and dream of... whatever.

I fought it through a lecture on Tuesday.

I fought it watching TV with the family last night.

Today I had a big meeting to go to. I really did not want to doze off in the middle of that!

So I had a plan.

A cunning plan.

An amazing plan!

A plan that might change the world as we know it if it gets out!

It was inspired by a strategy that was devel0ped for soldiers doing guard duty in the trenches in the First World War, staring out into darkness for endless hours. They would put their bayonette onto their rifle and then stand with their chin resting on the point. If they dozed, the point stabbed them in the chin.

But I didn't have a bayonette with me.

But, as I headed to the meeting






So I didn't visit the loo, I held it!

Sure kept me awake!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Summer is coming...

OK it might not seem that close right now, but it is coming - even if we are forecast to have more snow today!

But the weather is not my topic today. Today I am talking summer clothes.

Last night we were chatting and got on to the summer camping trip and what we should take. Crocs, shorts, warm things for the evenings or if we hit some nasty weather, etc. Then someone mentioned t-shirts.

Mrs RC chipped in:

"I want one that says DOES NOT MIX WELL WITH OTHERS."

Discussion followed, and we have now decided that we will each have some custom t-shirts made for the summer. I think the kids will get quite creative with theirs, while Mrs RC just wants a series of ones stating I HAVE ISSUES, or I'M NOT OK, or WOMAN ON THE EDGE.

Me? Not too sure right now.

How about:


LIFE IS GOOD (with credit to Terri, of course!)



Any suggestions?

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


Never mind the poor souls who are dying under the rubble of what was once Haiti, it seems the British public has a bigger concern.

It seems that Cadbury's, the chocolate company, is about to be taken over by an American company!

And what is the biggest concern? That they will be asset stripped and shut down? That the workers will lose their jobs when production is taken overseas?


Not close.

The main fear seems to be that an American owner will suddenly decide that the chocolate should be made to the same recipe as American chocolate - which most Brits agree can be pretty horrible. Are they serious? Who would pay billions of dollars for a long running company and them change their product beyond recognition? If they wanted to do that they could just start shipping Hershey Bars over here, couldn't they? Dumb.

And this is being discussed in great detail while people are dying under the rubble in Haiti...

Monday, 18 January 2010

Thursday, 14 January 2010


I was listening to the local radio this morning and the DJ started talking about being a parent.

He has 3 children, aged 11 downwards.

In the past he has made a big thing about how hard he finds it to be a parent - hey it isn't supposed to be easy is it? But this morning he went further and started talking about people who say how wonderful it is to have children. He was wondering if they are mad or if he is missing something - after 11 years as a parent he is still waiting for that feeling! He does not feel that being a parent is great, it hasn't added anything to his life, all it has done is stop him doing things that he thinks he should have done. "Don'g get me wrong, I love my kids to bits, but..."

BUT? At this point I swore at the radio - think of the nastiest words you can think of - it was worse...

He then asked people to phone in to comment. The first caller, a woman who had her 4 children in the room with her, said that she agreed with what he had said - children have a massive impact on your life (wow, that's a shocker) and given the chance to do it again she wouldn't have had any. Those poor kids! I hope they remember that when she is old and wants to be looked after! I almost called in but I was so mad at this point they would probably have just hung up on me anyway...


So, to state the obvious - kids are the best thing that will ever happen to you. If you fail to appreciate the gift that you have been given, then you are missing out on the true meaning of life.

Love your kids.

Hug your kids.

Let them know how wonderful they are.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


My mind is a total blank.

Today has been very busy - too busy for comfort really, I prefer to be a bit less rushed when I work. Oh well.

The snow has more or less gone now, although a bit more tried to fall today it just melted as it landed. Is this the end of our white winter? I wonder.

I think Custard my dog will be sad to see the snow go. He loves it - running, sniffing, rolling. He even just lays on ice patches, with his belly on the ice. Makes me cringe, but it doesn't seem to bother him at all!

We have been watching Celebrity Big Brother! A reality show where they throw all sorts of odd people into a house to see what happens. Interesting people this time, including Vinny Jones (actor and footballer), Ivana Trump and Stephen Baldwin. I hadn't realised that Stephen Baldwin was now a preacher. After the shock (I always think of him as the guy in the fairly bad disaster movies) I think I quite like him. He is very "in your face" when talking about God, which makes some of the others uncomfortable. Some try to make "clever" remarks and score points off him, but he knows what they are doing and won't let them do it.

Hm, my mind has gone blank again. I think the cold has sucked the life from my brain. A shot of Drambuie will help when I get home. I drink it for medicinal purposes only, of course. Hah, that was something that one of my grandfathers used to say. He was Plymouth Brethren, no alcohol allowed but he always had a bottle or 3 of brandy around his house for "medicinal purposes". He hated drinking it, of course, but a man has to just suck it up and do things sometimes. I miss him. He was such a great guy. Some of you may remember me telling the story from his childhood when he was playing with a rat in the garden... I can still hear him laughing about that!

OK, that is it, I have wanted enough of your time with this drivel!


Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Snow photos

The snow this year has been the heaviest that I can remember since I was a child, when we used to get a few inches of snow for a few days most years. Heavy snow in my part of England has become so rare that a couple of years ago the head of the local school (ages 4-11) made all of the kids go out and build snowmen. He felt that as snow was so rare these days the experience of building snowmen was much more important than anything that might happen in the classroom!
These pics were taken last Friday...
The snow fell with a strong northerly wind...

The roads were dreadful...

This path was beautiful...

One last look back at Home. The tree is the one that I carried home the day after we got married...

More bushes...

The bridge that leads out of town...

Monday, 11 January 2010

Monday morning...

feel so cold!

It is cold outside, but it is also cold in my office! I am talking REALLY cold. Got my coat on,thinking about adding the fluffy hat too!

Anyway, the snow is going now - at the worst we had around 10 inches on out garden table, but the fall that was expected on Saturday night/Sunday morning failed to arrive and it all started to melt.

The weekend was good, although tiring, involving a lot of walking to and fro - feeding my mom's pony, Humphrey,walking the dogs (who loved every minute of it), popping to the shops, building a giant snowman, etc. I forgot to bring in my camera so photos will have to wait today, sorry.

Changing the subject, I loved the reactions to my announcement that we have a new laptop with a good internet connection! No slacking off on holidays! Thanks guys! Really made me feel wanted!

Right, better get moving before my toes go black and fall off!

Bye for now!

Friday, 8 January 2010


Friday - We have got at least 6 inches of snow here - beautiful! Everything is utter chaos - will post photos soon!

More promised for the weekend too - haven't seen snow like this since I was a kid...

Oh, and I am writing this at home on our new laptop! Yay, I join the 21st century!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Let it snow let it snow let it snow!

Well the forecast says it will start to snow at midday, i.e. in around 20 minutes time. Supposed to snow for the rest of the day, getting heavier as time goes on. Might be a short day today!

I am going to be off work tomorrow anyway as my daughter has got a check up about having a brace fitted - poor girl!

I will see if I can get some good snow photos tomorrow, especially in my home town where they have almost completely failed to grit the roads - most are now just ice-rinks!

Ah well, back to work, Coke and doughnuts. Want one? I have got a few spare!

12.15 - No snow yet! It is LATE! Like the busses and trainsm, I guess, delayed by the weather?

12.45 - Still no snow! I think they have lied again!

1.30 - No sign of the snow. This is getting silly!

3.25 - I think that something is trying to fall now. Very fine, but there is definitely something in the air!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Christmas Highlights

Thought I would share a few of the highlights of this year's holiday:
  1. I drank a lot of wine - not sure where it all went to, but we bought loads and I only have one bottle of red left!
  2. We had a barbeque on Christmas Eve - it was great fun, the Turkey Burgers went down a treat!
  3. The kids got us up at 4am! I thought this was supposed to get better as they got older, but clearly not.
  4. On Christmas Day we just ate whatever we fancied. We cooked up a gammon (cooked in Coke, apples and Maple Syrup - fantastic!), made bread, cakes, home made sweets, etc. We love doing Christmas Day like this, far better than slaving over a huge meal that no one really wants by the time it is ready...
  5. On another day we did a huge piece of pork - it was in the over for a ridiculous amount of time but it cooked to perfection, with the best crackling I have ever had.
  6. In a drive to keep spending to a sensible level this year there were no big presents for Mrs RC and myself, just little things that would be appreciated. It was great because everything was carefully chosen and really fun to open. We also restricted spending on the kids a bit more this year, but they didn't seem to notice and loved everything that they got.. Again I think it was a matter of us choosing things with more care and consideration.
  7. My dad managed another classic. He phoned up on the afternoon of New Year's Eve. He was running out of food, could I pop to the supermarket and restock for him. Great. We had worked things out so that there would be no need to enter into the insanity of food shopping on that day - I mean, most shops would be shut the next day so everyone would be out panic buying toilet rolls and stuff because civilization could well come to an end before the 2nd! So, once more into the breech, once more! It was utter madness! Cars were lined up down the road outside a totally packed car park as everyone and his dog tried to do that last minute shop. Thank God for bicycles! I don't know what happened while I was inside the store, but they had a Code 2 in the car park, which needed Police, Paramedics and an Ambulance! Still, my duties done, we had an nice evening seeing in the New Year, secure in the knowledge that my dad would not starve.
  8. Then we finally had a decent fall of snow in our area, just in time for the return to school and work! Up until this time the snow seened to avoid a 15 mile radius around my town, all we got was a sort of sugar dusting! All around us there was mayhem - people at works parties getting showed in, even a store full of people had to spend the night in one place! Oh well, shouldn't really complain!

Anyway, there are some of my Christmas highlights!

Back soon!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Hi everyone!

I hope that you all had a fantastic Christmas! I certainly did, the best for a long time. Food was a mix of all sorts, including a lot of stuff where we looked through cookery books and said "Hey, I want to do this!" Great fun. We also had the best roast pork ever, with the perfect crackling - ooh yeah...

The kids loved their stuff - Spore is now the family favourite PC game, closely followed by the mayhem of 4 player Mario Wii.

We had a sort of white Christmas - while the rest of the country, indeed the rest of the county, was digging itself out of snow drifts, we just had a dusting from time to time. Today we have around 2 inches of snow, the most so far this winter.

So, what does 2010 have in store? I have no idea, but I have a feeling that it is going to be good.

Resolutions? I don't do resolutions, but I do have a few things that I would like to do this year...

What are they?

Why should I tell you?

Oh, you think that I was about to spill the beans, this being my blog and all and I just started talking about them. Oh OK, as it is you, but don't go telling anyone else, OK?

I guess the main thing is that I want to play guitar in public again. I am going to work on a short set and then ask a musical friend of mine if I can play in the interval of one of his gigs. That way I don't have to play for an entire evening, but I can see if I can pull it off. If it goes well I can expand the set, if it is a disaster, well never mind! Of course, I will post clips here as I go to get some feed back before I go and stand in front of a live audience - if I can't do it in front of a camera there will be no point attempting a gig will there?

It looks like we might be getting a new dog this year too - Mrs RC says we need another dog, and my resistance is weakening. We shall see how things work out.

Well I think that is about it for now - morning break is over, so I had better get back to work!

Bye for now!