Monday, June 30, 2008


I went round to my parents’ house on Friday night, which was nice enough, particularly as I got to spend time with my nephew. He was as cute as ever and we sat and watched ‘Open Season’ and ‘Cars’ on DVD. At one point he walked over to my mum carrying his toy dog and knocked my mum’s cup of coffee on the floor. He looked at my mum and immediately said “It wasn’t me”, which I guess technically it wasn’t at it was the stuffed dog that had knocked it off the table, but I did say to my sister that it was good she was bringing up her son to take responsibility for his actions…

I finished reading “My Cousin Rachel” and really enjoyed that. Well worth reading. G and I actually had a really interesting conversation on Saturday about Daphne du Maurier’s books because I gave G a copy of Rebecca to read and we were discussing the role of the narrator in each of the books. The main character is the narrator in each and so you actually get this really biased view of what happens. I think that is particularly significant in how you read her books and also in how you interpret the events, so we were talking about that for ages – I shall return to this at some point soon because I find it really fascinating about the role of the narrator in how we understand and learn about things. I shall explain more another time, but it starts from the principle of when reading a book or listening to someone tell you an account of an event thinking about how objective that person is; and, how does their telling of the story affect your perception of it? G and I don’t normally have such intellectual conversations but it is something I have been thinking about of late. I did have to tell G one of my favourite lines from the book which was “I was so near, I could have tossed a biscuit at him”. That just really made me laugh, because it was such a bizarre way to explain how close someone was to you. I realise this will probably not be amusing to you at all though.

I have also been working on scanning a book for The Burgomeister and have scanned a quarter of The End of the Affair into Word and spent ages tidying it up and finding scanning mistakes and correcting them. If anyone wants me to send them a copy then drop me an e-mail and I can forward on what I have done so far and I’ll send on the other parts when I have done them. This would, of course, be so that you could point out any scanning errors to me (I would genuinely appreciate that help actually), but you would also have to read a mighty fine book in order to do this.

Friday, June 27, 2008


There was a card from the postman when I got home last night saying he’d left a parcel with my neighbour, so I went round to pick that up and it turned out to be a DVD of my nephew driving a toy car. Kind of difficult to describe quite what this involved but they’d had some event at his nursery and had made films of each of the children. Very cute, despite them failing to wipe his nose before the filming started. I said to my sister that in years to come that video would come back to haunt him when they got it out to show future girlfriends.

I also spent a bit of time trying to get a few people together to do a walk in July, which is going to be the weekend after G and I get back from holiday. G already tells me off for getting us to go out walking regularly (even if just to the shops) and given that I imagine there will already have been a reasonable bit of walking while we are away, I might be in trouble… Well, you’ve got to live on the edge sometimes.

I saw some research has shown that eating takeaways can be bad for you. I can’t say that I have done extensive research into this but I reckon I could have told you that based on eating an occasional curry. I would quite like a research grant to make sure I had properly looked into this issue though – and possibly to buy some new clothes that I could actually fit into at the end of it.

Anyway, I’m not really sure what my plans are for the weekend. I’m meant to be going to my parents’ for dinner tonight as my sister and nephew will be there as they are all going to Ireland for a week tomorrow. I was asked to go, but decided that being imprisoned for the murder of my father would take some of the shine off a holiday. Then G is coming over at some point tomorrow and I imagine we will find something to do to keep us amused.

Thanks for all your kind comments on yesterday’s post by the way. Much appreciated.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


One of my neighbours came round to speak to me last night, as we are arranging to get a surveyor out to value the property so we can try and buy the freehold. She said to me that she has been trying to contact the freeholder for ages because they are trying to remortgage and have to prove that the property has buildings insurance. The freeholder is responsible for the buildings insurance but doesn’t respond to any calls or request to see the documents. That is actually illegal but there isn’t much we can do to force her to come up with things like that if she doesn’t want to. Yet more reason to get rid of her and own the freehold ourselves. It doesn’t solve my neighbour’s immediate problem though. Grrr.

I was on the tube on the way home last night and a woman sat down and her friend was left standing and the woman who was standing said something to her friend which I heard as “I always knew that my mother was tight”, but her friend didn’t catch what she said so she repeated it only this time it came out as “at the end of the day all of us are really tired”. Perhaps I have some issue with my mother that I’m not aware of and have been transferring that on to other people – not that my mum is tight. Or maybe I just need to clean my ears out.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


One of my favourite books is A Town Like Alice. I did have a copy of it but leant it to a friend and have never got it back. I shall replace it at some point, but I would also really like is a copy of it as an audio book. Alas, it only seems to exist on cassette, which isn’t a very useful format and also is incredibly expensive. I continue to keep an eye out for an audio version and one day hopefully will stumble across a copy.

Anyway, when I was having a wander on the interweb last night, I found an interesting site which allows you to download written versions of books (on ‘loan’), so that you can read them and then delete them obviously. Lots of recent books, which are still in copyright – hence them only being on loan. If you like the project, you could actually donate financially or by scanning some books of your own that are on the list of wanted books. I was messing about with my scanner last night seeing how easy it might be to scan a book and it is actually fairly straight forward, so I might donate a couple of books. But I think it might take a while to scan even one, as I don’t want to break my scanner and I then have to sort it out once I have converted it to Word. It is a bit time consuming, but I reckon a few minutes every night for a couple of weeks and I could have completed a book.

I was talking to G on the phone about this last night, who thought I was very “sweet” for contemplating doing something like this, I think it probably is more likely to show that I have too much time on my hands...

Monday, June 23, 2008


My weekend went ok and that was mainly helped by having a really nice evening on Friday. I met up with my mum and sister and we had dinner and then went to a concert at the Royal Albert Hall. It was called Strictly Gershwin and whilst I like Gershwin, I was a bit non-plussed about going to see it. It was a mixture of Gershwin’s music and ballet and whilst I wasn’t terribly impressed by the first piece because they ballet they did to it was incredibly boring and was like watching an exercise class, the second piece onwards was just brilliant and utterly mesmerising. I was like a little kid wondering what was going to happen next. It included music like Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris, which brought back memories that as a child I used to go to sleep listening to that music (it’s not exactly the most peaceful music, so I have no idea how…) and then I remembered that at school I also did a project on the Gershwin’s. Anyway… it was really great and one of the best concerts I have ever seen at the RAH. There was a fantastic ballet to “The Man I Love” and it was beautifully sung etc and whilst obviously just hearing the song won’t conjure that up, here it is anyway:

G had been asking me for book recommendations, so I have suggested a few, all of which have been a hit. The other day I was talking to G on the phone and I asked how the book was going and G replied “Yes, it’s going well. I’m on page 156”. I started to laugh and G was confused by my reaction and I had to explain that most people would reply to that question by saying something they liked about the book or what they thought of it etc, whereas G turns everything into the number of pages read. G did later say that it perhaps wasn’t normal to evaluate the enjoyment level of a book based on how many pages you have read.

I previously mentioned about the chap who was going to put his life up for sale. Well, bidding has started - and had reached Aus$2.2 million last time I checked. You might therefore have to auction your very soul to be able to buy his life, but if you get a house, a car and his friends thrown in, you might think it’s worth it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Curious things

I read a few stories on the BBC this week and have noted a new form of discipline for work. No more formal proceedings, just lock your errant members of staff in a toilet cubicle… Of course, only do this if you have another toilet that you can still use yourself or else it isn’t just them that might feel the consequences of it.

I also read the somewhat strange story of feet washing up on a beach in Canada. The whole thing is a mystery as no-one knows where these feet have come from. Two turned up on the beach last year and now another four have turned up – mostly right feet as well. I was particularly perplexed by this line though “Police say it is not yet clear if a crime had been committed. They said they had found no evidence that the feet had been severed.”

Erm… well I think we can say that they *were* severed, what with them not actually being attached to a leg or a body. I got my dictionary out and severed means “separate, divide, part, disunite”. So it has definitely been severed. I assume they mean that there are no signs of foul play. Anyway, if you see a lot of one footed people then perhaps you could let the Canadian police know.

I’m not really sure what to say about this next link, but if you’re into cheese then perhaps this is the culinary delight you have been waiting for. Or perhaps not…

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I just finished reading The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. Another great read and well worth reading. I now have another of his books to read, which I will do in the next few weeks. Anyway, there was a line in that book that really struck me.

“In my experience if you run from a thing just because you don’t like it, you don’t like what you find either. Now running to a thing, that’s a different matter, but what would you want to run to?”
I have nothing terribly profound to say about these words, they just resonated with me. I sometimes wonder if I run from things too easily and am constantly making decisions not to do something, when if I were instead making decisions about what I actually went to do things might be rather easier. It can be so easy to run from things that scare us, but that means you miss out on all sorts of opportunities and new things that once they are no longer new you wonder what there was to fear anyway. Maybe I should take those things more to heart. Embrace opportunities rather than running from the bad stuff.

Anyway, this has not been an entirely cheery week, not just because of having things dropped on my head, but more because there’s just been some difficult stuff going on that has made me feel very down and subdued. G has actually been incredibly supportive in it all and has helped to make me feel a lot better, but is now off to Scotland today until Tuesday, which is not great timing, as just the thought of that makes me feel really rubbish again. Normally G going away wouldn’t bother me, but right now, even though we will speak on the phone, I could do with G being about physically. But despite it not being a good past few days, it has reminded me how very kind, loving and generous G is, which is never a bad thing to remember. For that, I am most certainly grateful. All will be brighter again in the not too distant future I’m sure.

The video below has no relevance to any of the above, I was just listening to it last night and thought there was something intriguing about the video. It is Weapon by Matthew Good.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not dead... just wounded...

Apologies for not blogging yesterday, which I am sure must have sent shockwaves across blogland. You can now call off the dogs, I am back! There were a couple of reasons for my silence yesterday, first I had to get up super early to get a flight to north of the border and also, as it turned, out my internet connection failed on Monday night and I couldn’t summon up the energy at some unearthly hour yesterday morning to find out if it had come back again.

I felt pretty rough most of the day yesterday. I hadn’t slept all that well on Monday night and then had to get up really early anyway and just felt sluggish throughout the day and I always find that flying never helps with making me feel on top form. Anyway, I had a bit of a headache by the time I went to check in for my flight. I had a flexible ticket so the system offered me the chance to change fights as there was an earlier one, so I did so but then just happened to mention this to a member of staff who then told me the earlier flight was actually delayed and would be departing after my original flight. So she very kindly switched me back to my original flight. So I killed some time in the business lounge and desperately wanted to just shut my eyes for a bit but was with two people that I knew so couldn’t. I then boarded the flight and settled down in my seat and my mind began to prepare for a bit of relaxation time. Whilst we were waiting to take off one of the flight crew was moving the stuff about in the overhead locker directly above my head and a walking stick somewhat unexpectedly fell out and cracked me really hard on the head. She was very apologetic, but let me tell you that it didn’t have hurt and was also not great for my headache. It’s funny because on Monday even though I knew I was going to Scotland and back in a day I felt as though I was going to be away for much longer. Perhaps it was a premonition that I might be hospitalised.

On Monday, I read this somewhat sad tale on the BBC. A dog got sucked up by a street sweeper in New York. The owner turned round to find that all he had in his hand was a lead and no dog attached to the end of it. No sniggering at the back there…

I shall end with a song that seems very apt at the moment. It’s “Telling Stories” by Tracy Chapman.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Another weekend over and again it was quirt busy, primarily because of going to two barbecues, one on Saturday and another on Sunday. The one on Sunday was at my sister’s house and seemed to consist of me running about with my nephew trying to kick a football. I felt so full by the end of yesterday that I might need to avoid eating for the rest of this week (somehow I think I will manage to eat again though). Actually my sister gave me a birthday cake yesterday that was ‘going spare’, so I’m going to take that into work – not that it is my birthday, so everyone at work will be somewhat confused, but it’s cake so I can’t imagine they will complain too much. It is actually mum’s birthday today, but the cake wasn’t for her birthday either, it was just at my sister’s house and needed eating up…

Anyway, while we were at my sister’s my father said to me that they are planning to do something to mark their 40th anniversary in September. He asked me if I would give a speech. I was a bit dumbfounded and gave the somewhat terse reply that I wasn’t sure he had given me enough notice to think of something to say. I really do not get on with my father and have nothing good to say about him and so would have to try and give a speech that entirely consisted of speaking abut my mum. Mind you, he couldn’t complain too much because when my sister got married a few years ago he gave the father of the bride speech and entirely forgot to mention my sister, not even once did he refer to her. So, I am not happy about this suggestion at all but will have to think about it a bit more. I think what bothers me about it the most is how oblivious my father must be to even consider asking me to something like that. But that’s the thing I suppose, he always had the ability to wipe from his mind all of the awful things he used to do and instead replaced it with some idealised view about how family was “the most important thing” whilst continually treating his own family with contempt. It just makes me really angry even typing these words. The thing is that if I decline to do it, I will be the one made out to be the bad guy. I need to stop there I think, before I get really mad about it.

On a more humorous note, one of the radio broadcasts I saw being recorded, Spike’s Lookalikes, is on BBC Radio 4 tonight at 11pm if you want to tune in, or should be on their ‘listen again’ service for a week following its broadcast tonight. This and next week’s episode are the actual ones I heard being recorded, so if you listen very carefully you might be able to pick out me chuckling away.

Which reminds me… I saw another radio broadcast on Thursday, which was the funniest yet. It was called Cabin Pressure and I was so amused by it and laughed the whole way through. I’m not sure it will be as funny on the radio because part of what was so funny was the cast messing up their lines and despite it being on the radio, there was a remarkable amount of acting, which made it very funny, but obviously won’t be visible to listeners. Plus there were a number of comments made to the audience won’t make it to the final cut but made it really amusing. It had Stephanie Cole in it, who was great and Roger Allam - who has such a nice voice which I found really mesmerising. I think he is the chap who is the voice behind the HSBC adverts if you want to know what he sounds like. Anyway, it was very good and I’m looking forward to it being on the radio.

Rightio, I’m off to work…

Friday, June 13, 2008

Caution required

I read a couple of things recently that struck me as unusual. First, I bought a frisbee recently and I think it would be fair to describe the manufacturers as paranoid. Let me just give you a taster:

Make sure that people around you know you are playing with a flying toy. For use only in large outdoor recreational areas. Do not throw toy near traffic, buildings, trees, overhead wires, people or other obstructions. Do not use during electrical storms, snow, rain, high winds or other adverse weather conditions.
They really are spoil sports…

This toy contains small parts which may be hazardous.
Erm… no it doesn’t…

Remove all packaging, clips, staples, ties and similar attachments before giving this toy to a child.
Maybe they are referring to hair clips and a tie you where round your neck because the Frisbee came with no packaging at all.

Warning! This product is a toy and should not be used in competitive sports.
I will have to use another ‘professional’ Frisbee to take this up competitively. Except don’t you have maintain amateur status to take part in the Olympics? It’s a dilemma…

Second, the other day I bought a book on gardening from a charity shop and basically it was made up of various questions and the book provided the answers. For example (and I can provide the answers if needed!):

How and when should I trim my informal flowering hedge?

Can roses be grown with other plants?

I am worried that the toadstools on my own lawn may be poisonous. How can I get rid of them?

I think we can say that the book is fairly middle class, but then it surpassed itself:

Where the chalk lines are marked out on my lawn tennis court the turf seems much greener and more vigorous than the rest of the lawn. Does this mean my lawn needs lime?

Your lawn tennis court? Who has their own lawn tennis court?? I think the somewhat obvious answer to this pesky lawn problem is to ask your butler to tell the groundsman to get a man out to deal with it. I am shocked they have let it deteriorate in this way, what will the Jones’ say when they come over for Pimms?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Now I've seen it all...

As I was walking home from the station last night I could see a man in his car and he pulled away from the side of the road and then did a *very* slow three point turn and then drive off. As he drove past, I realised why his three point turn had been so slow – a child of about three was sitting on his lap (without a seatbelt on) and doing all the steering. They drive off up the road laughing. Crazy, crazy, crazy. I was not impressed by that at all.

Anyway, last night was the final of The Apprentice. I have to say that I never did quite get into the series. It is the only one that I have ever watched pretty much from the beginning, and even right until the end I couldn’t quite decide if I enjoyed the programme. It just seemed like a lot of people shouting at each other and not achieving terribly much. I wasn’t quite convinced that it was entertainment. I also just can’t imagine why people would want to put themselves through that sort of ordeal and I’m not certain that job would be quite the prize it is meant to be. But perhaps it is just me who thinks that. I remained unconvinced by it all to the bitter end.

I’m off to another radio recording which I think will be rather more amusing than The Apprentice. It has Stephanie Cole in it and hopefully we will get to hear some of her rather dry wit.

For your daily dose of cuteness, you might like to take a look here. At least she’s not destined for the sausage factory.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I’m reading “The Sound of Laughter” by Peter Kay at the moment and I have to say that it is a funny book. I might almost have broken the golden rule on the Tube and smiled a few times. Just the names he comes up with for the nuns who taught at his school is amusing enough, but it’s a really nice observational type humour. A very light-hearted read.

I am trying to think of a book to listen to in talking book form on the journey to and from Cornwall in a few weeks time. It’s about a six hour journey each way, so we thought we might listen to a book, but I’m trying to think of some suggestions. We don’t want to be stuck in a car for all that time and have picked a book that bores us to tears (which obviously isn’t safe when you’re driving). Of course, we can switch it off if we don’t like it but then it would be a missed opportunity. I was thinking maybe a Daphne du Maurier, as a lot of her books are set in the region, but we shall see.

If you want to read books on the interweb then there is a site here with some books you can download. This might have been useful for G yesterday who was trying to read a book whilst at work without any colleagues noticing – which is a challenge when you sit next to them. It’s much easier to look like you’re working if it’s on your computer screen. Just tap a few keys every now and then. Alternatively, get books e-mailed to you via this site - many of which are free.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

There are some things you just don't need to know

Going back to work was ok. Not exciting, but ok. I went out on my lunch break and amongst other things found a really good supermarket that isn’t totally packed at lunch time. Marvellous. I did have to drag myself back to work though, which was painful given how nice it was out.

Anyway, we had a section meeting yesterday morning and we give an update on what work we are doing. I didn’t have much to say, given that I had been off for the last week, but then it was a colleague’s turn and he said:

“I have an interview for a promotion tomorrow; it’s my daughter’s second birthday on Saturday; and this might be too much information, but I have had confirmation that my vasectomy was successful.”

Er... yes maybe a bit too much information. I replied “I’m trying to work out which of those to give you a card for”. Everybody else’s updates, which were merely about work, were rather more tame by comparison.

Monday, June 09, 2008


So my week of leave is over, the weekend is over, and now it’s back to work… *sigh*

Anyway, it was a very good weekend and had lots of highlights. Friday night I went to see a radio recording of a programme called New World Order. To be honest I was a bit non-plussed by this. It was basically meant to be about the world coming to an end and the people in the studio audience were the only survivors and we were introduced to our new world leader, who turned out to be Simon Munnery. The programme was presented by Danny Wallace, who was funny, but Simon Munnery just kept saying he didn’t care when he was asked various things and it got a bit wearing after a while. The programme was obviously quite scripted, as there were various pre-recorded clips that they played and they followed one from some of the conversation between those two, so maybe something got lost on translation. I think with some good editing it could be quite funny, and I would be interesting in hearing how it turns out.

On Saturday, G and I went for a walk in Docklands, which was good. We actually started by going to a pie shop on Tower Bridge Road, the famous (if you know your pie shops) M Manzes, where only I ate as they had run out of vegetarian pies, so G couldn’t have anything. I would have happily forfeited eating there but G thought that was a waste as we had gone to the trouble of going there. Then we stopped elsewhere for food for G and then walked from Tower Bridge to Canary Wharf, which was very pleasant and we stopped at a put en route and had a drink. I haven’t been to the Canary Wharf area for ages and parts of it have a really continental feel to it. I would like to go back and have another wander around there again. However, we couldn’t do that yesterday as we had to head back into the centre of London, grab a quick bite to eat and then go to another radio recording. This time it was “It’s Later Than You Think” (possibly not the title they will finally broadcast it under) presented by Marcus Brigstocke. This was much funnier than the previous night and Mark Steel was the guest and he had to try various things he had never done before – tea at the Ritz, a wet shave by a barber etc etc and that was all very amusing. This was the third episode in the series and the previous recording has been with Paul Daniels and let’s just say that all the comments Marcus made about Paul Daniels will have to be edited out before the broadcast because he was not fan. I think “woman-hating bigot” would be the politest summary of how he was described.

We headed home after that and G had been wearing a pedometer and it seems we did over 21,000 steps on Saturday, but then we rather balanced that out yesterday by hardly moving at all. It was a good weekend, including having really nice weather and drinking fizzy Vimto.

A couple of things to point you towards. First is Caroline Smailes’ blog which refers you onto a new blog started by her husband to try and broaden people’s reading. You can suggest books yourself or just try out other people’s ideas. Second, if writing is your thing rather than reading, then a post by Stray over at Chasing Sheep might assist. I am very impressed by Stray’s little crib sheet.

Anyway, time to head off to work… *sigh*

Friday, June 06, 2008

Finished. Almost.

The boiler is now installed, which is good news. Just as the chap was finishing he said “you’ll have to get an electrician out to cross bond it for you”#, which I think means to earth it. I wasn’t very impressed by that because I had used this firm so that everything was done by the end and had they told me in advance that they couldn’t do that bit I could have made an arrangement for someone to come and do it while I am on leave this week, but I haven’t got any time to arrange it now. I think he could tell I wasn’t entirely pleased. However, I am pleased with the work they did, despite the water leak and my bedroom still smelling disgusting. I’ll have to redo the ceiling in a few weeks time. I still can’t put a light bulb in the overhead light in my room. I tried yesterday and the light came on and flickered loads despite me not having turned the switch to the on position. I think I might need to leave it longer to dry out…

Yesterday was my father’s birthday and so I went out for dinner with my parents. That was ok, but I really do struggle with spending time with my parents. I feel like teenager again and feel really uncomfortable whenever my father ask me a question, as I don’t really want him to know anything about my life. I really need to get my head round all that because it makes me avoid my parents and then whenever I see them I always feel on edge. I’d like to see my mum more often, it’s just my father that I really struggle with, but it is difficult to avoid him every time I see my mum.

Anyway, today is my last day of leave and I am going to go and do a bit more observing for my possible volunteering and a few bots out and about and then meet up with G tonight and we are going to another radio recording. Then tomorrow we are going for a walk in the City of London and then to another radio recording (although I have my doubts that we will get into that one, but we shall see). I don’t want the week to be over *sigh*

Oh and yesterday on the news they kept showing a report about a woman who bought an emu egg which was sold to her to eat, she incubated it as she thought it might be possible to hatch it and she did, so she now has a baby emu. I saw it on the news a few times and kept wondering what was significant about the story?? It wasn’t that she boiled it for her breakfast and a live emu popped out. So… she deliberately incubated the egg to try and get a baby emu and it worked… is that newsworthy? It’s not like one of those stories where someone buys a bunch of bananas and finds a tarantula in them. Or she bought a kitten and it turned into a snow leopard. She bought and emu egg and hatched it. Sorry, I’m just very confused by this story…

Anyway, on that note, have a good weekend all.

#Does anyone know if this is strictly necessary and if I am likely to die if I don’t get this done??

Thursday, June 05, 2008


The boiler installation was all going so well and was on course to be finished yesterday. Until I walked past my bedroom afternoon and saw water coming through the ceiling. Oh dear. My neighbour wasn’t about but fortunately I knew where she worked and looked up her work number and called her because the workmen urgently needed access to her property. She contacted her dad who came over about half an hour later and let us in. There was water coming through her ceiling and her bedroom carpet was soaking.

The workmen went up into the loft and found the source of the problem. They had switched my water from the hot water tank to mains pressure, as they should have done, and this meant that because of the higher pressure an outlet pipe was being used that previously hadn’t been needed. That pipe drained into the water tank in the loft. However, at some point someone put a cover on the tank so when the outlet pipe was used the water just drained off the top of the tank onto the rafters in the roof. Until now the only reason that pipe would have been used would be to let pressure off my tank if it boiled. So… had that happened boiling hot water would have poured on to my neighbour’s bed. I wasn’t really looking to apportion blame, as sometimes things do go wrong, but in this instance no was at fault apart from whoever (back in the mists of time) put a cover over the tank.

I took my Vax upstairs and got loads of the water out of my neighbour’s carpets. I spent about an hour and a half doing it and whilst the carpets were still damp when I left they were soaking before I started so it was a big improvement. By the time my neighbour got home the crisis had passed and it was about assessing the damage. Her only concern was whether the floor boards might rot. I said that I thought that very unlikely but she should get her home insurance people out to assess it if she’s concerned. In my property, I have a damaged ceiling, which might improve when it has properly dried out, and there is a somewhat strange smell that is a bit like a combination of paint and wet wood. Hopefully that will go as well. I could claim on my home insurance but I’m not sure I can be bothered. I can repaint the ceiling myself and so the only problem will be if the ceiling paper needs replacing. So it could have been worse...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Thanks for the positive response to yesterday’s postcard idea. I will set to work on this and find some nice cards and think if some suitable words or quotes and then try and give it a go. I might be one of the only people in the UK who makes use of the paper version of the BT phone book!

Yesterday I went out for lunch with my mum which was really nice. We were going to go for a bit of a walk as well but the weather was so miserable that we didn’t do that. I went back to my parents’ house afterwards and had a look at my parents’ TV. A few weeks ago my father found that he couldn’t record anything on his DVD recorder and didn’t know how to fix it. I messed about for ages and established that the problem was with getting a signal and that the DVD recorder was working just fine. I messed about with wires some more and then the conversation went as follows:

Me: Oh, you get your terrestrial signal through the old Cable box wiring.
Father: No, the signal comes through Sky.
Me: No, the Sky channels come through Sky but the terrestrial channels came through your old Cable wiring because it is plugged into the aerial socket.
Father: No that wiring doesn’t do anything. That’s why when the builders built a new wall for us a few weeks ago I told them they could cut that wire and remove it.
Me: *penny drops* Is that the same sort of time that you lost the TV signal?
Father: Yes, but it was fine for them to remove it because that isn’t how we get the signal.
Me: Erm, I think you’ll find that it was important. Did it not cross your mind that there might be a connection between them removing that wiring and you no longer having a TV signal??

Clearly it hadn’t crossed his mind because it was only after I actually took him through the wiring system that he could accept that the Cable signal was actually quite important. Oops. Anyway, after some searching through loads of wires (and cobwebs. Yuck.*) I managed to find the original aerial that they used to get their TV signal before Cable or Sky were even dreamed of and got their TV signal back and then I retuned the TV and DVD recorder and got it all working again. Sometimes I despair of my father and his ability to think laterally.

On other matters, if you are in any important business meetings today, it might be worth noting that the quality of the biscuits could make the difference as to whether you clinch the deal. The advice seems to be to go for chocolate digestives. I’m not sure that I see them as what I would think of as quality biscuit, but maybe other people have simpler tastes than me. My personal favourites are those ones that usually come in gold wrappers and have a layer of orange fondant in them and are then coated in milk chocolate. I might agree to pretty much anything after one of those.

*My parents have a clean a house by the way. This was down the back of some cupboards.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


They weren’t meant to be doing anything on the boiler installation today, but yesterday the installers did far more work than they thought they would be able to and have realised that they can get on with more work today without having to wait for the wall repairs to dry out. They think they might be finished tomorrow now rather than on Friday as they had previously thought, which is good news.

I’m meeting up with my mum for lunch today. She has to go to the hospital this morning for her annual check-up because she had cancer a few years ago and then we’re going to go out somewhere for a bite to eat, which is quite handy because it’s kind of difficult to do much in the kitchen at the moment because that is where all the work is going on.

I was lying in bed last night and for some reason I was thinking about a variation on a theme of PostSecret. So a kind of post-PostSecret... I was thinking that you could get a phone book and pick out someone at random and then put a postcard anonymously in the post to them and you just write something uplifting or positive on it. No signature, no way to track it back to you, just a positive message. I think this was partly influenced by me getting my new phone book delivered the other day, although I have no idea how it turned into this particular idea. Just in case you are wondering, I am in the phone book twice, at my own address and at my parents’ address (as there phone bill is in my name), so I am expecting twice the warm feeling from anonymous senders. I might ponder this idea some more - and also check out if this might be an arrestable offence!

Monday, June 02, 2008


My first day of leave and despite checking what time the chaps were due to turn up today to fit my new boiler, I was still in bed when the builder turned up – because he was arriving separately to the boiler people. I chatted to him a bit in my night clothes and made him a cup of coffee and then went and had a shower. I did feel a bit weird about that, what with him being a stranger and me not having a lock on my bathroom door, but he seemed like a nice enough chap and I figured that as my hot water will disappear today for a few days, time was of the essence in having a shower. Three of them are now here and standing looking at my boiler coming up with their plan of action

My plan for the day is to do some work in the garden, put down loads of weed killer and take some pictures to a local place to try and get them framed and other such things. The chaps who are here were commenting that it seemed a bit of a waste to have taken the week off for a boiler, but I told them that I was just so pleased to have some time off work and one of them was advising me on where to go in Cornwall as, over the weekend, G and I booked a cottage to stay in for a week in July.

I read a couple of articles on the BBC last week and was surprised to learn that typewriters are still a reasonably big seller in the UK. I could believe that some people still use old ones, but that there are still thousands sold every year is quite surprising, but given how unreliable my computer is being at the moment, perhaps I might be better off with one.

The BBC also reported on some research into the ‘perfect voice’. If you look at the article, they have samples of the (computer generated) perfect voice. I have to say that I’m not sure that I agree that I think they are really great, particularly the male one. I think a richer, deeper voice is what I would see as more appealing. Years ago a chap called Michael Hordern used to narrate Paddington Bear and I used to think he had the most amazing voice. It’s maybe not one that was likely to be that common though I suppose. Perhaps they are the perfect voices, but I’m not convinced and maybe it just proves that no matter how much research is put into such things, it is all subjective really.