Monday, 31 January 2011

Where did the weekend go?

It went so fast, as seems to be the trend these days...

Saturday  - walking the dogs, walking to the local bike shop to get a new tyre for my bike (the sand and grit they used on the roads has shredded them), stacking hay for Humphrey the Pony, going shopping with Frou Frou either walking or tucked into the front of my coat (she got lots of fuss), cooking pizzas, walking dogs again, flopping in front of the TV, nearly drowning in the bath, bed.

Had a great revelation in the evening.  Number One Son was sleeping the night at a friend's house, but we knew exactly what he was doing the whole time - Younger Son was in contact via xBox Live more or less the whole time!  Isn't technology wonderful!

Sunday - walking the dogs, putting new tyre onto the bike, going shopping again for the things we forgot on Saturday, cooking dinner, failing to notice that my daughter has changed her hair colour again, walking the dogs again, trying to get some time on the computer and failing, watching some rubbish on TV, bath and bed.

At some point I also introduced Mrs RC to Excel, showing her how you could set up a spreadsheet.  We put together a sheet that allowed us to list our finances, money in, money out, etc, complete with a graph.  She seemed to like it.  I doubt it will stop her doing it all with a pen and paper, though.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Friday on my mind

Well I bought my copy of MS Office last night.  While in the store I got to chat to the manager.

I explained my confusion about the online/in store/collect in store prices (see the previous post).  I pointed out that this had totally wiped out any chance of me making any impulse buys - I would go home, look at it online, maybe reserve it and pay the cheaper online price or more likely decide I don't really need it!

His reaction?

"Tell me about it."

From a series of short comments and looks, I got the impression that his on the spot sales have fallen through the floor - his huge store is now just a warehouse where people pick up stuff that they ordered on the internet.

He seemed so down hearted I didn't push about the extra price reduction...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Is it just me?

I need to buy a copy of MS Office and have looked up prices.

The best deal I can find is £78 to use it on 3 different PCs.  This is an internet price.

The same company charges £99.99 in its stores.

However, if I use the website to order it and then choose to collect and pay at the store I only pay £78, the internet price.

Is it just me, or is this dumb?

Just had a further thought.  This company has a price guarantee - if you find something cheaper they will undercut that price by 10%.  Can I challenge the store to undercut their own internet price?  Probably not, but it might be fun to try - just to make a point...

Monday, 24 January 2011

More Characters

Here are a few more characters from my book...

Jen, Jack, Jemma, Georgia, Jasmine

“All locked in, Mom!”

Jack was a good kid. To be honest, Jen didn't know where she would be without him, he was like an extra pair of arms, priceless when dealing with the girls. She sometimes felt guilty that he was losing his childhood, growing up too soon, taking life a bit too seriously for a 6 year old, but he seemed to enjoy his place in the family.

Jen quickly checked them in the mirror. The three girls were side by side in the middle row of seats, while Jack was in the back, able to reach over and help them of they needed anything.

“Wow, four kids”, Jen thought to herself. “How did we get here?”

The last few years were a blur of raging hormones and sleep deprivation. Those girls had arrived faster than new characters in a failing sitcom, with Jasmine, the youngest, being just as inexplicable. She must have been asleep when that one was conceived, as she really couldn't remember anything approaching sex between giving birth to Georgia and finding that she was pregnant again!

And things didn't seem to get easier. The bigger the family got the more her husband took on extra hours at work. Heaven knows the money came in useful, paying for all of the things that a small horde of children needed, adding a small extension to the house, upgrading the car to a 7 seater, and so on, but there were times when Jen wondered whether it wouldn't have been better to have two parents around more of the time. The strain of it all was often unbearable, especially on a day like today: SHOPPING DAY.

Jen offered a quick prayer, thanking God for Jack, her extra pair of arms when the going inevitably got tough.

A clicking sound came from the back seat.

“What is that, Jack?”

“Oh I am just looking in Granddad’s toy box. Dad took it away from him, told him he is too old for it now.”

“What is in it?”

“Oh just stuff.”

“Well put it away, it must be old and you might break it.”

“I don't think I could break this stuff, Mom!”

“Hm, maybe not. They used to make toys much better in the old days.”

There was the clunk of a heavy wooden box being closed and a few clicks as catches were flicked into place.


“Barney, Barney!”

“Bar, bar, bar!”

That was the girls.

“Okay, girls, her we go!”

Gritting her teeth, Jen hit the play button on the DVD player and then pulled out of the driveway onto the quiet suburban road.

“I love you
You love me...”

Jen was developing a deep, pathological hatred of a purple dinosaur. Might be worth mentioning it to the shrink next Thursday.



Patty Murphy stood back a little and checked herself in the mirror. Almost happy, she pouted and gave her shoulder length black hair a slight ruffle and adjusted boobs to show her bulging cleavage.

“Men don't deserve you!” she told herself.

Patty considered herself to be the archetypical brunet. A little short for her weight, a doctor had once suggested that she could improve her BMI, but then learned that BMI does not account for muscle mass, around about the time his face smashed into his polished walnut desk. There are men who blindly prefer blonds over brunets, but almost without exception these guys have never spent a night with a girl like Patty. She didn't tend to have chat up lines, more of a warning: If you sleep with me, porn will never be the same again.

Heading back to the bar, Patty quickly finished her drink, flashed a smile at the briefly hopeful barman and headed into the busy New York streets.

Frou Frou

Our little puppy is growing, and now weighs about 3 times what she did when this photo was taken.  Need to take some new ones to show you!

She is a real tough nut and loves to go for walks with the rest of the gang.  But recently the weather has been very wet so we have tended to keep stick to walking around the streets with them - they enjoy this as they get to sniff lots and my dad's dog, Spot, does not like getting wet (!!!), but it is not the same as a good run in the fields.

So yesterday we took them all to the fields again.  Frou Frou loved it and did not seem to care when the water was deeper than she was. She just loved snuffling all those smells - the rabbits, foxes, other dogs...  Funny, but even Spot seemed to throw off his usual dislike of water and enjoyed splashing around too.  Maybe he was shamed into it - I can imagine Frou Frou saying things like "You're not SCARED are you?"

Where would we be without her?  Strange, we have only had her for just over a month but I find it hard to remember not having her in the house!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Fighting the fog...

... that seems to be sitting between my eyes.  Not sure if it is the cold or the drugs at the moment!  Sorting out the usual Friday Morning stuff, then getting ready to sit in 4 hours of lectures and seminars.  Not sure how good my notes will be today  :-(

Got 2 assignments back in the last couple of days - really pleased with the marks, and I know I earned every single one!

And it is Friday!  Number One Son has bought himself a really kick-ass PC which arrives today.  He has gone for some Quad-Core i7 job with 2 monitors.  I want one!  I think he intends to use it to organise his attempts to take over the world... 

Oh, that is something I meant to set the record straight about!  From comments on my last post (Terri and Agg79) I can see that I have given the impression that Mrs RC does not baby me when I feel ill.  Maybe it is because I have written more about her strong side - moving/building sheds, terraforming gardens, facing down problem neighbours etc.  But when it comes to looking after us when we are ill, she becomes Florence Nightingale and pampers us terribly.  Aren't I Mr Lucky? 

Well, back to it I guess.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Another day...

... that passed like a freight train.

I feel lucky that I didn't fall off and lose a leg under the wheels, to be honest!

My Mac still has a cold, but I think it is more old age than a virus.  Now I have rescued stuff off it I might ask if it can be fixed - didn't want to do that before rescuing my files for some reason...

I am busy fighting off that dreaded infection, the Man Cold.

I have been taking pills during the day, and eating cakes - I like the motto that you should feed a cold! When I get home I will have a slug of my old remedy, Drambuie. I think I might survive.  If not it has been great knowing you.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Wednesday already????

This week has flown past, with lots of last minute stuff to keep me off balance.  Ah well, at least I am not bored!

My trusty old Mac has got a cold - only runs for a couple of minutes at a time, so I have been desperately copying the newest files that were not backed up properly - not fun!  Will it save that 60meg file before it switches off?  Think I have now rescued everything...

I have more or less got the introduction to my next set of characters sorted out in my mind.  Just need to find the time to type it up...

Back to it!

See you soon!

Monday, 17 January 2011


As you will see if you read the next post, I have started writing my book!  I blogged about this idea long, long ago, but have finally decided to put pen to paper.  Or maybe finger to keyboard is more precise?

It is basically a trashy action story that, if made into a movie would star someone like Steven Segal or Bruce Willis.  It includes masses of cliches but I hope that there will be enough fresh ideas to make it entertaining.

I intend to post snippets here, starting with an introduction to the main characters that pop up throughout the story.

Some of the characters are inspired by friends of mine, including a blogger or two.  If you think you see yourself, I hope that you like the way I have portrayed you!

Anyway, back to reality!  Today is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year - Christmas is a distant memory and the bills are starting to arrive!  The weather here is doing its best to make everyone miserable, cold, grey and raining.  I was totally soaked by the time I reached work - good job I packed a complete change of clothes!

More soon, and if you haven't read it already, please read the previous post which introduces two of the main characters in my book.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Meet the heroes

Amy strode into the apartment block and, ignoring the lift, started up the stairs taking them two at a time, an easy task for her long, slim legs. She preferred using the stairs, as the lift was too slow for her liking, and there was always the faint hint of vomit and urine in the air. Having to go into Chuck's apartment was bad enough with out adding to the misery.
 Reached the third floor, Amy retrieved her lock-pick from its place in the collar of her denim jacket. Chuck's door would be locked and she did not have the patience to knock and wait. She opened the lock with a single flick of her wrist, flung the door open and headed for the bedroom, trying to breathe as little as possible. How could a human-being live in such squalor?
 “Wake up Chuck! Oh, what a shock there is a broad here too! Oh, look how young she is! Are you sure she is not a long lost daughter? OK sweetheart, shift your cute little ass out of here, don't bother with a kiss goodbye, and no he won't be calling you again.”
 The girl sat up in the bed.
 “Who are you?”
 “I'm his wife.”
 “No she's not” came from under the duvet.
 The blond puffed up slightly at this.
 “Well he's mine now, so you had better leave before I call the Police!”
 “Honey, I am the Police, now get out before I arrest you for necrophilia.”
 “I'm not that old! Bitch!” Chuck was sitting up now.
 The blond glanced back and forth between Amy and Chuck, before bursting into tears, leaping from the bed and starting to gather up her scattered clothes.
 “Don't forget your retainer!”
 Amy smiled, apparently happy at a job well done.
 “Time for work, Chuck!”

Thursday, 13 January 2011

LIke having another baby...

We exchanged exhausted glances across the living room.

"She is asleep.  Shall we head for bed early?"

"Sounds like a great idea!"

Upstairs on tippy-toes, slipping on PJs, brushing teeth, etc.

Sliding into bed with a collective sigh of relief.

A kiss goodnight.

A few minutes of pointless chatter - whispered so that she is not disturbed.

Drifting, sinking into the warm bed.

Sliding into needed sleep.

tinkle tinkle tinkle

It is the bell on her collar.

"Oh no!"

"Maybe she is just turning over..."

Yip yip

"I'll go."

"Oh, thank you.  I can't..."

I head downstairs and watch an old episode of South Park while cuddling our little treasure back to sleep...

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


...while my computer thinks.

I am setting it tasks, hitting OK and then having to wait while it crunches numbers, so thought I would multi-task!  OK, no comments about guys and multi-tasking, please!

Had a rude awakening this morning.

The morning routine is that Mrs RC and Number One Son get up first.  I then dose for an hour with the radio on and finally drag myself out at 7am.

In the last few days Mrs RC has started bringing Frou Frou up with her for a morning cuddle, which is nice.  But this morning, events conspired against me. 

Firstly I had gone completely to sleep.

Secondly, Mrs RC just opened the door and threw Frou Frou onto the bed!

The result?  I suddenly have a set of needle-like teeth nibbling at my nose and a small but very intrusive tongue stuck up my right nostril!  Not the nicest wake up I am sure you will agree!

But not the nastiest either, not by a long way...

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

An over heard conversation... (Bad taste warning)

I heard the following conversation (more or less) between a group of women who were walking their children to school this morning.

Sharon asked me to go up her house for dinner tonight but I don't want to go.

Why not?

Have you been up her house?  She never cleans it!  It is disgusting.

You think hers is bad you should see mine.

No, yours is OK, I've seen a lot worse.

Like Peter's.  I don't know how he gets his in such a mess!

I don't know how I kept a straight face.


Well, much as I hate to pick holes in people's speech, these women were badly mispronouncing "house" - making it sound much more like "arse".

My song for 2011

I have noticed that others have been choosing a song for the year.

I have thought long and hard about this and keep coming back to this one.

I have always liked this one and it just seems to fit.

Had a trip to the dentist yesterday morning.  I always hate this, but after sitting in the waiting room for half an hour listening to the powertools,  screams and pleading, and seeing the Paramedics arrive a few times I was even less enthusiastic.

However, the guy was very disappointed to say that all was well and had to console himself with a quick polish!  Hah!

We have noticed something really interesting about Frou Frou the puppy.  Wit Custard, and every other dog we have ever had, after a walk they have been tired and wanted to go to sleep.  Not with Frou Frou.  After a walk (and remember that she only has little legs!) she gets a massive burst of energy and zooms around the house for an hour or so before finally cuddling up and going to sleep.  I have never seen this before - maybe we should extend the walks?  I don't know, she seems to be happy with the amount of time that she is out and wants to get home!  Any thoughts from dog owners out there?

Friday, 7 January 2011


I guess we all have heroes, people who we look up to as a model that we can aspire to.

They come in a range of forms.

They might be a family member - a sibling who always seems to do things right, a mom or dad who is there to make things right when you are a child, an uncle who made a break and shows up in a sports car when the rest of the world is struggling to pay the bills.

They might be a movie or TV star who looks or acts in a particular way.  We often see these people picked out as role models for the young.

They might be someone who does something especially well - I have had several guitar heroes, for example!

But sooner or later, most of our heroes seem to let it slip.  Family members turn out to me mere humans after all, movie stars turn into junkies, guitarists turn into egotistical jerks.

But whose fault is that?  Surely, being a hero is a tough job, and sooner or later you are going to drop the ball (especially if you are a Quarterback!) Can you really blame a hero when he stops being one, or takes the job too seriously?

Is it our fault?  Maybe we just reach a stage where this particular hero is not needed and we see them for what they are - mere humans!

So is it good to put these people on pedestals in the first place?  Should we look at them and think "I want to be like that"?  Or should we look for our own path in life and see where it takes us?  Many people feel that the song "My Way" is a good epitaph to their lives, but how many of us really do it their own way?  Very few, I suspect.  Most of us follow in the footsteps of others, maybe even standing on their shoulders as they go a little further than their predecessors, but few actually cut their own path through the jungle of life.

But I guess this is as it should be.

For me, old heroes have faded and I don't seem to have many new ones turning up.  Maybe it is time that I sharpened the machete and looked at the jungle a bit more closely?

Thursday, 6 January 2011

This year....

I will be a Spartan.

No, not in the rather gay "Meet the Spartans" manner  :-)

A while ago, Agg79 found me some good definitions of Spartan:

Spartan: a. Rigorously self-disciplined or self-restrained. b. Simple, frugal, or austere: a Spartan diet; a spartan lifestyle.

I think all of these will apply this year as we bash our finances into shape once again!

c. Marked by brevity of speech; laconic.

This will be reserved for those who deserve it...

d. Courageous in the face of pain, danger, or adversity.

Well I think I have been doing this for a while anyway, so no problem there! 

Meet the Spartan Rock Chef!


There is someone in the room below me who seems to be sawing and drilling through the floor.

If this is the only post I do today, it is probably because I have fallen through and landed on top of him!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

2011 is on us!

Well I finally dragged myself back to work - took an extra day to give the heating time to kick in.  Last year I froze my arse off and I didn't fancy a re-run.

Christmas turned out really good - the kids all enjoyed their presents, the food was excellent (especially the beef on Christmas Eve which was to die for), no one was ill (either through cold/flu or over indulgence) and having removed ourselves from the firing line we weren't even troubled when the difficult elderly relative that I have mentioned from time to time kicked off in the early hours of Christmas Day (just as I thought he would - after all he did manage to ruin Easter, and our 25th Anniversary - both times that we tried to celebrate it!).

And something else that makes it particularly good?  We didn't spend stupid amounts of money doing it!  I suspect that a lot of people spent less this year than in the past...

Frou Frou is growing well and weighs 3 times what she did when we first got her, and is now going for short walks with Custard.  She is growing into a real ball of mischief and we are fighting a losing battle to stop her climbing onto sofas, leap onto coffee tables, chew wires, etc.  But she might have learnt not to chew wires now.  She managed to get to the wires of a set of Christmas lights and chewed right through them!  Her yelping drew our attention.  Luckily the lights were one of those sets with a transformer that knocks the power down to around 9 volts - enough to make her yelp but not enough to kill her!  A close one, though!

The first week of my holiday was taken up with making sure that the older relatives were OK for food and stuff, and feeding Humphrey the pony while trying to  get in the last of the Christmas goodies.  We cut things so close this year that I was actually out buying food on Christmas Eve!  Not the best way to do things but I did find some amazing offers (like the beef mentioned above which was going for a song) so it wasn't all bad.

One thing I left so late this year that I gave up entirely was sending out Christmas cards to a few of my blogger friends - I totally dropped the ball this year, so please don't take it personally if I sent you one last year but not this year.  I will try harder next year, OK?

With all of the snow going on, we took to listening to the local radio again and we heard this - only on local radio, eh?  More soon!