Blogging Up The Works

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Traveller Returns

I have returned from my brief sojurn to North Wales. It didn't rain! Not once! Not even a little bit! There were a couple of snow flurries but no rain. There was even a couple of brief spells of sunshine! I think that's the first time ever.

One of the good things about going up there is we get to go past Snugburys. And for once we went past it on the way up and on the way back. This place is ice cream heaven. On the way up I had the Banana Caramel and Apple Pie, on the way back Tropical Coconut, and Turkish Delight. Excellent! M had Death by Chocolate and Sloe Gin and Damson, followed by Amaretto and Sloe Gin and Damson. If ever you are passing, call in. In fact if you are anywhere remotely near the place, call in!

Just round the corner from there, literally, is a house that M loves. Henhull Bridge Farm House. Everytime we go past she states her intention of buying it if we win the lottery. This time it was actually up for sale. Despite buying a lottery ticket we failed to make her dream come true, however, we were at least abe to check it out online. How disappointing. We don't like the inside at all, so as well as the capital purchase it would need a complete refit. It better be a big win on the lottery then - house, refit and daily visits to Snugburys!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Canadian Songsters Germ Warfare Revenge

So far, this weekend has been taken up with the concert I mentioned the other day in which I sang "Orange Coloured Sky". As part of my intro I mentioned how I was more talented and better looking than Michael Buble who did a recent cover. He has wreaked his revenge by bombarding me overnight with a man flu germ and I lie prostrate upon the couch listening to M snoring away totally unconcerned by my physical malcondition. If it wasn't him it was an allergic reaction to singing the bloody awful "HI Ho Silver Lining" three times in 24 hours!

Today is a day off, except the morrow sees the conclusion of my first year as Chairman of Hounslow Light Opera. Perhaps I have the more dangerous Chairman Flu, that's bound to be worse than just man flu. So today I must finish writing my chairmans report. By finishing it I mean start it. And also continue to build/modify/add/subtract/tweak/hit with a hammer, various pages of that there linked HLO website what I have built. Or at least what I have filled in, thanks to some other persons coding skills.

As soon as the AGM finishes we immediately start on this year's main show, The Pajama Game. And I mean literally, as the meeting will finish about half eight and then our director will start to discuss what will happen this year.

If I get any time between all that, I need to try and do some work and pack for the trip to North Wales.

Alternatively, I may just lie here and suffer silently.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fell at the 13th

So, you will notice something missing.

If I had pre-done all my postings then there would have been one yesterday.
I could've but I didn't so there isn't.

If only I had spent the spare hour I had in the morning writing something instead of sorting out Valentines Meals.
I could've but I didn't so there isn't.

I was going to check whether there was a way to programme the posting in advance for a specific time and date.
I could've but I didn't so there isn't.

If only I hadn't got in from work yesterday evening and collolapsed into a heap with only enough energy for a few minutes browsing before bed.
I could've but I didn't so there isn't.

Oh well, having done some three months of continual blogging from February last year, life has come to bite me on the bum this year and I have failed at day 13. (Shrinks under the steely gaze of the blogging fraternity whom he has personally affronted). things were about to get harder anyway as we are off to North Wales next Wednesday until Saturday and I have agreed not to take my computer so we get a proper rest and I don't have much of a mobile signal there either for moblogging.

Oh well, there's always Blogathon 2014.

(Crawls back under whatever slimy stone he crawled out from under).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Naive TV

Having mentioned my cultured television veiwing of a Saturday evening the other day it has to be said I don't mind dabbling at the other end of the spectrum.

"Sun Sea and Suspicious Parents" is great. I'm not sure whether we are meant to be railing at the outrageous behaviour of the kids but in general they are no worse than any other teenagers. What is great is the naivety of the parents. Their 18 year old son or daughter is off on a mates holiday and they start expressing their concerns. These usually revolve around the hope that their offspring won't be getting drunk, won't be speaking to the opposite sex, maybe spending the day in the library*.

Can some parents really be so surprised at their kids behaviour? For Lords sake, they are going to such places as Kavos, Magaluf, etc. They all have a bit of a reputation as holiday destinations for the young to get absolutely slaughtered from morning till, well, pretty much the same time next morning.

Often you can see how all the parties involved on a programme are being manipulated as are the viewers, but in fact this programme really does seem to be showing both kids and parents in their true light.

Back in my day we didn't really have "lad's holidays". Going abroad was still a bit of a novelty and relatively expensive. That doesn't mean we didn't get ratted every now and again though. I was probably the least rebellious teenager ever, being very protective of my mum after her split from my dad, but there were certainly evenings when I certainly wouldn't have wanted her to see the state I was in, but then, I have a feeling she knew I wasn't exactly out drinking lemonade. We hate to think what M's girls get up to, or at least what they did get up to when they were younger, indeed M is quite happy not to know but I don't think she's under any illusion that copious amounts of alcohol were taken and I dare say there was the odd boy or two spending the night in very close proximity to them.

In a world where teenagers get a bad press it is the parents who come out worst. The teenagars often have more insight than the parents have, maybe because it is their life or maybe because they are at an age where their world is changing rapidly in all areas.

I am however hoping they never start a series watching 50 years olds on the rampage in Blackpool. Or, if they do. for God's sake keep my mother away from the television!



* One of the lads we were following one week actually told his mum on the phone that this was what he was doing. He failed to mention he was actually just going in to a strip club.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Modern Life and The Remedy

There are a couple of news stories today which, during discussions afterwards, shows how things have moved on over the years.

The first is the interminable horse meat controversy. In a phone-in dominated by people lamenting the various supermarket's poor quality control, someone made the following point. "Of course, it wouldn't be a problem for so many people if they just went to the butcher and bought meat and made the meal themselves". Now, many poeple will say they don't have access to a butcher these days and that the butchers is more expensive than Tesco/Sainsbury/Morrisons etc, however, the supermarkets often have a "butchers" within the store and prices are reasonable. And here's a tip, often the mince on the fresh counter is cheaper than the pre-packed ones on the shelf and a lot nicer looking and "fresher". The same goes for chops and no doubt other cuts as well. Now, I'm not averse to a ready meal, he says, replete on a Chicken and Broccoli Pie courtesy of Messrs Tesco, although part of me wonders if I actually just had Wombat and Bamboo. But amidst all the jokes and everything else it hadn't hit me until I heard that comment that yes, we have become reliant on ready meals. There is an outcry because the people we have abdicated our cooking duties to have screwed up. A bit like blaming teachers and baby sitters because your children don't know how to behave.

The other story is the one about the baby whose hand was bitten off by a fox. I actually don't know where they lived but suspect it is a town. Someone rang up and was saying will people please stop feeding foxes. I heartily agree with that, but it is even more than that. Please stop leaving rubbish out in plastic bags for days on end! It is noticeable where we live that over the last few years things have deteriorated. We have bin houses with two doors. One is a big door which allow the dustmen to bring the bins in and out to their lorry, the second is a smaller door which allows residents to go in to the storage and walk at the side in order to place the bag in an empty bin. It's logical, it's easy, it's a bloody nigthtmare! Some people just open the big door and, if the first bin is empty, put the bag in the bin. If the first bin is full they just leave it on the floor. FFS, it's not difficult to do it properly. And once the first storage hut bins are full there is another bin hut with another four bins in. That never gets used because it is about 10 metrest away. And that isn't an exageration. For one block of flats it is actually only two metres away from their path but they still ignore it and use the one that they walk directly past. Is it a coincidence that the number of flats that are now rented seems to have increased at the same ratio as this problem. It's as if they have no pride in where they live and perhaps these days if you rent you don't have pride. Maybe you don't care because it is not your flat, just where you live. And who cares about the other residents? Why do they matter.

So, as we move forward through the years we are becoming more anti-social and expecting more to be done for us. My mum always talks about when my Grandma was nearing the end of her life, she was saying how pleased, in a way, she wasn't going to see things deteriorate from the standards she had grown up with. My mum, at 83, has started to feel the same. I suspect I will follow in the family tradition in another couple of decades.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Give An Inch, Take A Mile

So just a few days ago I mentioned how I was doing my very first straight play. Luckily it is only a small part because I don't remember lines very well. I think it might be because my head is so full of wonderful other stuff. So what on earth has possessed me to now accept another role in another play. But not just a few lines this time, it's the bloody main male role!

Now, I can just about justify this decision, if I spend a great deal of time learning the lines. There are a lot because I am in every scene but one. So why have I done this when on March 9th I am auditioning for a main part in the musical show in October. I know it's presumptious to think I might have a clash but the inside view is that I will get it.

Does anyone know how to clear a brain so it can be reprogrammed to refill with other stuff? I suspect there will be much lying down in darkened rooms to recover.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Culture

Saturday night is culture night. Admittedly with a crime bent


The Killing,


Borgen,


Wallander,


Inspector Montelbano


and starting again this week, my favourite, Spiral.

Saturday Night is watching foreigh language tv on BBC4.

Et Je l'aime.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Backing The Right Horse

Well, the beef/horse/unicorn* disaster continues apace. Who knows where and with what the next food might be adulterated with. Obviously in Findus's case, not so much adulterated as completely exchanged.

I'm interested as to how the first discovery was made and by whom. None of the retailers were routinely carrying out dna checks for the products so why did someone have a look. Tesco's are now apologising and explaining how they are going to make sure this never happens again by introducing regular dna checks. I suspect there will be all sorts of discoveries coming up as newspapers rush for the next scoop.



Morrisons claim their products are all as advertised but who wants to eat an elephant pastie?






Why are people worried about eating horse. Or is it as David Cameron claimed today that it isn't that they are eating horse but people feel let down under the Sale of Goods Act. No, David, people appear to be worried they.ve eaten a gee gee. I think I've had horse before. Last time we were on holiday in France we bought a pair of excellent steaks at a very good price, they were incredibly tasty, and I can't remember that it ever actually said what animal had supplied the meat at point of death. If indeed it was horse then let's get some over here. Tasty!

I suspect there are quite a lot of people who are offended because they feel they should be. There are certainly others who believe horses are "different" and shouldn't be eaten. No wonder the great unwashed are freaked out by the Tucker Trials on IACGMOOH. If other people eat it then it isn't going to poison you. If you can eat one animal then surely you can eat them all.

And now, I'm going to give you an exclusive. Tesco's have carried out another set of dna tests today and I'm afraid to have to inform you that My Little Pony contains no equine dna whatsoever!!!!!

* one of these might not have been found in burgers or lasagne yet.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Worth His Weight In Gold

I have found a new mechanic! Hurrah!

For too long I have been without a mechanic for the car. This has forced us either to use a Peugeot Main Dealer. Genuine Parts - Genuinely Frightening Prices or a local garage who you can never quite trust.

The latest saga has been the clutch. The local garage fitted one 18 months ago but in all honestly we were never completely satisfied. I didn't like the position of biting point. Indeed, biting point seemed to be about 1 inch further on than the pedal would go to. Anyway, 10 days ago the clutch decided to give up the ghost. And someone recommended their mechanic. It was a way to go. Over in Chessington which is a bit of a trek, in rush hour, with a car with a dodgy clutch. But it made it and I picked it up tonight. It's gorgeous. A dream to drive. He's done a fantastic job. Technically he's come in £10 under estimate, but whilst he was doing it he decided to replace a blown headlight, topped up with anti-freeze, filled up the oil, and with good stuff, not just Halfords own brand, put air in the tyres and a few other bits and charged just £20 extra so ended up £10 over estimate. I'm not quibbling. It was worth every penny.

I can sleep easy in my bed knowing when the worst comes to the worst he is there ready and waiting.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

New Old Technology

One of the weirdest things about Everest is that when we sell something, despite the fact that

1) we use laptops at point of sale and could e-mail orders,

2) we have to log in to the company each night to update our machines and send them our days work,

3) they won't pay us any money until they have the actual contract in their hands,

despite these three things, they insist that as soon as we come out of a house with a contract, we have to fax them a copy.

Fax. FAX! Who in God's name still thinks fax is the modern way to transmit information?

So normally we leave a house and start looking for anywhere that might still have fax facilities. There aren't many.

But today I have unleashed a veritable maelstrom of modern technological practices and. by fair means or foul. have complied with their request without coming within 50 paces of a fax machine.

This is the route I took.....

1) Three seperate photo's of the three pages of contract were taken on my mobile phone.

2) These photo's were then sent by bluetooth to my laptop.

3) Having saved them as jpg's they were then inserted into an Open Office document and resixed to fill one page per photo, thus replicating the original A4 paperwork.

4) This new three page document is exported as a pdf file.

5) The pdf is uploaded to an online fax company.

6) The online fax company transmit my pdf as a fax to my business center.

7) A confirmatory email tells me the transmission was successful.

8) A text tells me they have received, read and registered the contract.


Not as simple as just faxing but for the trouble of finding a wifi connection in public it makes for a quicker process, in effect, than travelling back to the 1960's world of technology.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Visitation

We have had a visitor staying with us for the last few days.

It was quite nice to see her - she hasn't lived in London for the last few years, having relocated to LLanelli about 5 years ago.

It was quite nice to meet some of her friends as the shortage of time here meant group meetings rather than visiting each singly.

It was quite nice to hear gossip of her other half, a school friend of mine, who decided not to come down and visit.

But no matter how nice those things were, they are as nothing to the niceness of having our flat back to ourselves again.

And she probably feels the same relief at getting back home again.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Multi Coloured

In two weeks time I'm taking part in a concert. All the songs have to have a colour in the title. You have to wear a shirt of the colour that is in the title of your song.

Am I pleased I chose Orange|

Now I have to find an orange shirt and I don't want to spend £30 as I'm very, very, very unlikely to wear it again. Or I might just dye a white shirt.

God, how I suffer for my art!

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Distortion

The older one gets, the more confusing modern life becomes. Not from the point of view of new technology, which I can handle pretty well, but more in the way of relating to modern society. The adoration of celebrity, the need to change perfectly useable words for something different, either just for the sake of it or to make it simpler to understand and I guess a general detachment from the main body of society. I guess it is a case of life as you get older regressing. I don't think it is anything new to feel that when one gets very old you are regressing back into childhood by needing to be looked after. Maybe I am in the reverse teenage years, feeling as though the world doesn't understand me.

There was a story this week in the papers that typifies this feeling.

Jeremy Kyle, tv presenter, has had cancer. The media could just report it if they really feel they must but as normal it had to be done in such a dramatic way.

Apparently Jeremy suffered a "toxic" tumour. Toxic? Do they mean malignant? Is that just to make a celebrity different from the rest of us? But then there are other references to toxic tumours. So are toxic tumours a dumbing down of malignant tumours? Why if they are the same do we have to change the name? Then, having had his treatment, he has "an agonising wait" to see if he was clear. Compared to what? To mere mortals who just have a slightly uncomfortable wait? A laissez faire attitude to their results?

The media whips up a sense that Jeremy, and I am sure by no means his idea, has suffered more than anyone else. That a celebrity suffers greater and is thus worthy of our sympathy because he is a "celebrity". No doubt a case not so much of "if you prick us do we not bleed" as "if you gouge us do we not hemorrage".

And indeed the media did it's job correctly. I have a friend, (of a friend), who is what might be considered a typical Sun reader and indeed she felt a great wave of sympathy for him. More than she would have for a general member of the public.

Why do our "heroes" have to be celebrities? Why do celebrities have to be nonentities? Why change words that have been perfectly fine for years just for the sake of it.

Anyway, am I just old or is there someting in it?

Saturday, February 02, 2013

The 56 Year Old Virgin

This afternoon I have done something I have never done before. It's not that I've being doing anything wrong. I've just done different variations. As Elmo might say, "Same but Different". Some of my friends have done it, often, but I've been a little bit nervous of it. Still, you're never too old to try something new.

So, I've agreed to take a part in a play where for the first time it's straight acting. In forty years of treading the boards, or squashing them under my bulk to be more accurate, I've done - farce, comedy, pantomime, opera, operetta, musicals, revues and probably more, but not standing on stage and trying to not be an idiot. Unless the part is to play an idiot. Which it isn't. I'm playing a drunk aggressive father. I will be on stage for about two minutes delivering my six lines.

I might play it as dear dear Larry would have done, or then again I might just play it as it comes out of my mouth in the direction I am standing.

It is, however, a new play. I am the first thespian ever to play the role of "dad". Or at least this particular dad. Come March the 24th a grateful audience will be enthralled. entranced and entertained by the eight of us.

Do we have any idea when the nominations for The Baftas close?

Friday, February 01, 2013

And they're off....

No, this isn't an oblique reference to the Tesco horse burger controversy, although there have been some remarkably good jokes surrounding it, but of course this years Blogathon. I think I might be first up.

12 hours later.....

Well, I would have been if I'd posted this when I did my morning routine of going through my blogroll rather than starting to write it when I got in this evening.

Day one and my sneaky plan of pre-writing all 28 posts has not materialised due to my natural ability of not getting round to doing things. (Musn't let M see this otherwise she'll bring up the fact that she is still waiting for the shelf to be put up six years later. I probably blogged about that last Feb when if was only five years). But now I wish I had done them. It is mayhem and madness in the wonderful world of windows as we go into the last few days of the January Sale. So, instead of leaving a nice 3 hour gap between appointments to give each potential customer my full attention and incredibly superb customer service, Head Office are packing in appointments like there's no tomorrow. Today's were at 11:00, 1:00, 2:00 and 4:00. Luckily someone begged me to sign them up so I did.

So, not only am I not first, I'm also not inspired due to being tired. (ooh look, that's two days in a row with rhyming). So you're getting this. Tomorrow will be better. Honest. Probably.