Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Morons on the road

I had a fun experience today. It also blew a few urban myths away. When you think that you might die, your life does not flash before your eyes, nor do you shit yourself.

I was on a straight two lane road in my van, pootling along at fifty when the two cars ahead of me hit the brakes, as the car in front of them had just indicated for a right turning about thirty feet in front of them. I also hit the brakes and the van slammed sideways across the road and just carried on at that angle for about sixty feet ( I checked the skid marks) . Going sideways at fifty ish in a high top three and a half ton long wheelbased van is not an experience I want to repeat in a hurry especially as I was convinced it was going to flip over.

Eventually, I hit the rather high kerb, the van jumped into the air and rather luckily buried itself into the soft verge, rather than carrying on into the ditch. So, there I was, at forty five degrees with the van across the lane, unable to reverse out as I was buried so deep, with traffic whizzing past. Thankfully, another van stopped, he had a tow rope, and dragged me out.

It fair rattled me.

Later, I saw Rick Wakeman in a petrol station on the A14. He drives a Porsche, looks rather vague and is freakishly tall.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


We are now officially lurgified at Gumpher towers. A is still on antibiotics, and C has a gland problem which has knocked him for six. He's a pretty solid chap on usual form, but he's zonked out. Pale, not eating, and in a fair bit of discomfort.

He fell asleep as I was reading to him last night, and I didn't want to disturb him, so he and I shared our bed last night, with A in his. Not sure it was a good choice on my part, he was very restless all night, up and down for water and medicine.

On Sunday, he spewed his on body weight- inside my car. I spent an hour cleaning it, and had another go this morning, but the stench is unbearable. We're away for the bank holiday, and I'm going to have to get it valeted beforehand, otherwise we'll be driving everywhere with the windows open.

I am really not in the mood for work today, hence the blogging. Generally I enjoy what I do, but like everyone I suppose, you have periods of lacking motivation and interest. Today is one of those days, it's going to be an effort.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The written word

I read a lot, always have. As well as my enjoyment of the content of a book, I like books themselves, and I am always a tad suspicious when I go into a house and there's not a book in sight.

I read a great deal from an early age. We didn't have a television, not because my parents couldn't afford it, they simply believed that there were better ways to occupy your time. I think we first got a small portable when I was seventeen, and that was only because it was won in a raffle.

I've always thought that so much more can be gained from a book than any other form of stimulation. Sometimes, if I subsequently see a television adaptation or a film of something I have previously read I find myself disappointed with the representation of character, as it inevitably differs from the picture that I have drawn for myself from the book.

I don't have any one particular genre that I'm drawn to, my taste is much like my taste in music, very eclectic.

My boys struggle to understand how 'simple' my childhood was without hundreds of television channels, the internet and the Wii, but fortunately, they both have my passion for books. C is like me, he reads a huge range of subjects, and reads very quickly. Although they both read to themselves, I still read to them most evenings before bedtime. C is ten, and our reading over the past couple of years has changed. Rather than individual stories, we have chosen together various books which take us weeks to complete together. Or months, in the case of The Chronicles of Narnia. Tom Sawyer provoked the most discussion, simply because of the language, and because he picked up on the differences between being white and black during the period it depicts. I doubt we would have had that discussion had we not been reading that particular book together. We're reading The Hobbit at the moment, and I'd forgotten how much I'd enjoyed it.

Reading with J is still very much short booked based as he's seven. His current favorites are Greek myths, although I fear we will soon have exhausted the library's supply.

We go to our local library most weeks. Although we've got one wall which is entirely bookshelves, and I occasionally dip into an old favorite, most of my new reads come from the library, although I do have the odd foray into second hand shops. J loves the library. Because he goes through phases of what he wants to read, he sees it as a challenge to search out something the same that he hasn't already had. I think he's resigned himself to the fact that he'll never stumble across an unread Dr.Seuss, he still looks for their distinctive spines.

Our local library in a small town is very quiet. We went to the large library in Worcester a few weeks ago and it was fucking bedlam. They'd introduced these new scanning devices in place of actual librarians, and the poor librarians left were constantly helping at the scanners as the damn things didn't actually do what they were designed for, and that was to scan books.

I don't think I would be so deep as to say that there are books that have changed my life, but all books have hugely enriched it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A relaxing weekend...............................

A has the most shocking ear infection. She managed to get to the quacks this morning and has a course of antibiotics, but the effects won't kick in for twenty four hours. She was sobbing through the night, I really didn't know what to do, other than to give her a hug.

I'm going to clear off early and pick up the kids from school and take them up to the park, out of her way. We'll get some free entertainment later courtesy of a rather wealthy chap who lives just up the road. He invites clients to the Cheltenham festival and hires two helicopters to ferry them back and forth. They land in his back garden and the kids love sitting on the gate watching them come in and out.

If A's still grotty, I'll forgo my Friday night hour in the pub. I think I'll stay off the pop altogether, as C has moved up a swimming class and his lessons have moved from Wednesday afternoons to 8am on a Saturday morning. Fucking great, ten weeks to look forward to. Then J has football at nine, and on Sunday they both have rugby matches away at different clubs. J is playing in a tournament in Droitwich, and C is at Stow. Oh, and C has more swimming on Saturday evening, courtesy of the Church youth group.

And I've got to collect two of their noisy mates from school as their Mum is working late.

I don't get bloody paid for this..............

Friday, March 12, 2010

Talk Talk

What a bunch of chimps.

I'm not asking to be flown to the moon. I would like a telephone line and broadband. I have a direct debit in place, all they have to do is email my invoice, and take the money.

I have the most simple e mail address on the planet, but for some unknown reason, every other month, some fucktard from TalkTalk decides to add a '1' to it, and unsurprisingly, it doesn't get through.

Then they write to me to say I'm being charged for a paper bill as I don't have a valid e mail address, despite them using the correct address the previous month.

The online account has never worked. It either won't recognise the log in or password, and won't allow them to be reset.

So. The phone call. I'd rather rub my nuts on a cheesegrater than ring the TalkTalk call centre. I have nothing against Indians, nor indeed any nationality ( apart from the odd Irishman at six nations time) but if you're going to use foreign call centres, at least use staff who have a basic grasp of the language of the country they are servicing..

Twenty seven minutes and three separate staff in order to ensure that a '1' is not added to an email address, and each time they pass me onto a colleague, that mong wants me to repeat my name,address, date of birth, phone number and account number.

It's not good for my ever greying thatch.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Feel the burn

I am in pain, deep pain.

I've been back playing squash for two weeks now, and I had planned to ease myself gently back into it, but the childishly competitive nature of me and my playing partners has not exactly made that possible.

Last night was daft. I was two one down and came back to two all. Somehow I managed to get 7-4 up in the deciding fifth when the lights went out. It was bugger all down to the way I was playing. My opponent was missing easy shots, and giving me clear winners, but I was totally fucked. I could hardly move, I was sweating like a sumo in a sauna, and although deep down I wanted to win, my immediate thoughts were that I couldn't give two shits about the score, I just wanted to get off that court.

Needless to say, the extra quid went in, the lights came on and I lost 10-8. Unusually, I really didn't care, everything hurt so much. It's a long time since I pushed myself so hard, and although I lost, and it hurts, it's also quite satisfying.

The squash ball size mark on my left arse cheek and the racquet weal on my shoulder are less satisfying.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Yo ho ho

I haven't been sailing for years.

Growing up next to sea I spent my youth cocking about in boats, and great fun it was too. Dinghy sailing with dad until we both came to the conclusion that father and son in a small boat is like the same mixture with driving lessons. I then started crewing on offshore yachts for a bit. I'd always windsurfed, and fortunately that is like riding a bike, so I always hire one if they're around when we're on holiday.

As we live slap bang in the middle, there's not much opportunity to sail. Having said that we live on the Avon, and there is a sailing club nearby, but tacking every twenty seconds is not my idea of fun.

Anyway, I had an email earlier reminding me that my deposit for the 'Round the Island Race' was due. It wasn't spam, as it was from a chum in the village, but I didn't have a clue what it was about. To cut a long story short, I was collared whilst under the influence at a party a few weeks ago, the boat has been chartered, and along with a motley crew of assorted village pissheads will be racing around the Isle of Wight in the summer !

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

As expected, Cardiff was great fun, despite the rugby.

Also as expected, we got roaringly drunk and ended up in a curry house. Nothing if not predictable. Cardiff was chock full of very happy Frenchies, and the more I drank, the better my French became. Ahem.

Great walk along the Wye valley on the way back, although it was a round of soft drinks in our target pub, and none of us could face lunch. Turn forty and turn lightweight.

Bokke, (see previous rugby trips) had a quick look at the OS map of some proper walkers, and decided we would take a different route back to the car. Needless to say we got horrendously lost and the one hour trip turned into two and a half. It also involved a jaunt through a farmyard which was ankle deep in liquid cowshit. I'm glad we weren't in my car.

Two games of squash coming up this week. It's rather satisfying to be back doing some exercise, although it's going to take a while to get a reasonable level of fitness back.