Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy Birthday Emma :)

I don't know if you read my blog, but if you do then happy 18th Birthday, I miss you, I love you ....I always have ....and I hope you have a lovely day .....ohhhh and Happy New Year to you both !!!

Nothing much to report recently Andrea and I have had a quiet week, the kids aren't coming back until Wednesday so it looks like we will have a quiet New Years celebrations probably watching TV or a film, then at midnight crack open a bottle of bubbly and bring in the New year, I'm stuck in work today but hopefully we will finish early today, although I very nearly didn't get into work on time this morning, I set the alarm correctly but I think I must have set it to CD instead of radio or buzzer and I woke up at 07:26am instead of 06:30am to a faint clicking from the alarm and panic stations ....not a very pleasant start to the day...... and considering it takes me at least 45 minutes to get into work normally I only managed to be 5 minutes late but the poor Peugot must have thought I had put a brick in place of my right foot this morning, ahhhh well I will double check the position of the alarm next time before hitting the sack.....

and there is no canteen today :( .... but one of the guys I work with is doing a mercy dash to subway at lunch time so all is ok with the world :)

the only other thing of note about this Christmas is the appalling selection of TV programs & films, either I'm so old now that I have seen all the films they crank out every Christmas and can actually remember them after the 9th repeat, I mean come on.... Jurassic Park 1 2 and 3 !!! I could understand if the Velociraptors had festive tinsel in their teeth or the odd Santa hat thrown in or failing that the odd minced up Santa, but come on, and Sister Act purrrrlease !!! very disappointing to say the least

I did enjoy one of my presents that being "Jeremy Clarksons Supercars DVD" , it's not so much I actually enjoy watching supercars flying about the place, it's more the insane antics those three get up to but on this particular DVD it was only Jeremy Clarkson, I had to laugh when he was looking at the G-Wiz electric car made in the UK under license from India, and he set it against an American muscle car, which the muscle car won easily, so he then said it was a bit unfair putting up against a 500HP muscle car so gave it a chance by putting it up against a wooden table carried by four blokes, the table won !!! they then crashed the G-Wiz into the table and battery acid was splashed everywhere.....pointing out that if you want to get from A to B fast.... use a table, and if you want to be horribly burned to death with battery acid get a G-Wiz car !!

anyway Happy New year to everybody that reads my ramblings and I hope 2008 brings you everything you hoped it would :)


addendum

please see YouTube video attached

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv-RMbtKjLU

it explains it far better than I could explain it ;¬)

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Well the Christmas thing is over :)

Nearly.....anyway :) the kids had a blast, The Xbox recluse got an X-Rocker chair which I am sure we will regret at some point as it pumps out 200 watts and sounds like WWIII when he plays his delightful high body count games ....put it this way it sounds like we have an indoor high calibre shooting range somewhere in the house

my step daughter got a chocolate fountain.....apparently it's all she wanted we topped her up with clothes etc new jeans etc, the chocolate fountain I had my doubts about lets just say it's messy, hard to clean and makes the house smell like a Thorntons chocolate factory on a hot day, either way the kids had an equal amount spent on them, even Freya got a look in and is now swamped with various chewy things that vibrate and brightly coloured rattles that light up and clothes even her very own first Christmas teddy, the littlest lad got a astronomical telescope and his first view of the moon was peppered with "Ohhhhh look you can see all the bumps and craters and everything and it looks like it's on fire" I tried to explain why the edge of the moon wavered like that but before I managed "it's caused by the earths atmosphere" he was already running into the house to drag Andrea out for a look, he also saw his first view of Venus, and I was just lining up Saturn for him when he was called in for bedtime, but it was nice seeing his face light up and getting a different view on things he took for granted :)

all in all the kids had loads of presents and remarked how nice it was to have a new source of presents in the shape of my family :) after all it was our first Christmas together.... it was really...really nice I went to my parents on boxing day after I had cleaned up some of the devastation of Christmas day and spent some time with my sisters and their respective husbands, all in all very civilised, Andrea turned up later after her M5 dash..... a bit too late for my London based sister and her family as they had to drive back to the big smoke......but everybody else got a cuddle off Freya and she even fell asleep on Williams lap, he is besotted by her but won't admit it ......I asked my Dad to keep his eyes peeled for a "cheap" wood working lathe, because I'm going to start turning bowls again mainly because it is probably THE most soothing pastime I have ever discovered besides walking and climbing, plus there are craft shops which will snap my hands off for unique wooden bowls which they seem to sell for £30 - £50 and it beats giving them away for nothing, and even if the profits are simply ploughed back into purchasing the seasoned timber and waxes it's worth it :)

as mentioned earlier Andrea dropped the kids off at Gordano Services on the M5 so their Dad could spend some time with them which is cool plus it gives us five days off, her ex even commented on how much of a Daddies girl Freya was, which was nice :) I'm working for these five days which puts a bit of a damper on the time off but you can't have everything, in some ways I wish my ex and I got on even half as well as they do, but it's unlikely, different people, different history.....and neither of them are quite as mad as a box of demented rabid frogs.....

a few days before Christmas I dropped off my usual Christmas gifts for my daughters, I'm not holding my breath to have any thanks it would after all be breaking the hard and fast rule to expect anything else, I didn't even bother putting in our new address it is after all completely pointless letting them know what it is ..... it does upset my parents though that two of their grand children are complete strangers and the very best they can expect is a thank you letter once a year for any presents they have..... I also heard that Ellie my sisters daughter has been cut off now, as she used to talk to my eldest daughter on MSN..... weird behaviour to say the least..... :(

Speaking of which my eldest daughter is 18 on the 31st of December.... (Bloody hell is it really 18 years since I held her in my arms in St James Hospital.....seems like 5 minutes ago !!!) no longer a child but a young adult.... it saddens me that there isn't any contact with either of my daughters, because they are missing out on so much, as I am in not having any contact with them, but it's her/their decision and I respect it, I could contact them I've known their email addresses for ages, but considering the last response it seems the very last thing they want is anything to do with me or my/their immediate family, so I'll just leave it at that..... as much as it saddens me, and as the years pass by it seems the memories become more distant, it hurts less now than it did, I'm not sure if that's just my own self protection mechanism's kicking in, which I have perfected over the years or because you can't be sad all of the time, or if it's just me getting on with my new life....

It was weird walking up to the old house, to hand deliver the cards (not that I don't trust the Royal Mail or anything) it seemed grimy and cold, actually it was, the door was filthy with road grime and there was rubbish lying around in the front, either way I couldn't wait to turn my back on the place, and get back to our house in the countryside :) I remember thinking "I bet the walls are still pink from being plastered and unpainted" and I shuddered to think how miserable I would have been had a bitten the bullet (again.....) and opted to stay instead of leaving as I did all those years ago, it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, but it was for the best..... of that I'm 100% sure

I wish my daughters well and every happiness and a good and happy new year and if in the future they find only half the happiness and love I have now they are indeed lucky, and one day I hope they do get in contact but it's entirely up to them

I'm happy now I have a family that loves me (well likes me at least ;¬) ) and a lovely daughter who's smile just says it all, it will be nice when Freya can talk and calls me Dad, it's been a while........but in the meantime her giggles and smiles more than make up for not talking :)

Monday, 24 December 2007

We've just had the "heads up" on Christmas eve

by the security staff..... Apparently we will all be leaving the building at 3:00pm today so not a full day :) which is a bit of a relief because I have a few things left to do before settling into a full on dose of Christmas spirit :)

Andrea was busily wrapping the last of the Christmas presents last night, I wasn't asked to help because apparently my present wrapping skills are second only to a brain damaged chimpanzee, although I can't see anything wrong with how I wrap presents !!! ....but they come nowhere near the skills of my wife, she does wrap a tidy looking present though complete with bows and everything, mine on the other hand look like they've been wrapped by a fruit and veg merchant at the local market.....but then again I have never seen the point in spending more time than necessary on something that is going to be ripped to shreds in less than a blink of an eye !!! but I suppose it does look nice if it's wrapped properly

we haven't gone over board on presents just one or two main presents the rest are just stocking fillers of varying degrees either way they will all have something nice to open tomorrow, we set a budget for all three of them excluding Freya who won't know what the hell is going on anyway, and we have for the most part stayed within budget

and I got a lovely email this morning from the payroll department apparently they haven't received my expenses yet which I sent well over two weeks ago, I wouldn't mind if it was a small amount but this lot of expenses adds up to £504 which includes the hotel at Woking and Teeside, so I'm not a happy bunny

And speaking of bunnies Andrea or "Frith the bunny slayer" as she is now known managed to mow down a cute lil bunny on the Carmarthen/ St Clears dual carriageway, apparently it hopped out into the road she drove over it hoping it stayed still in terror, but rabbits being rabbits it decided to make a quick exit left back to the safety of the grass verge, unfortunately it didn't factor in the back wheel of the Jeep which as you know rapidly follows the front wheels and this was confirmed to Andrea as she "bumped" over it...... I did ask her if she picked it up for bunny stew but apparently not, but with hindsight it would probably be "bunny" pancake rather than stew after being run over by a two ton jeep with balloon tyres at 60 mph .......

fade to.....

Is it a kind of dream,
Floating out on the tide,
Following the river of death downstream?
Oh, is it a dream?

There's a fog along the horizon,
A strange glow in the sky,
And nobody seems to know where you go,
And what does it mean?
Oh, is it a dream?

(no actually it's a 10 year old two ton Nissan Terrano and this one my son you're going to lose......big style) ;¬)

Friday, 21 December 2007

bit of a scary moment this morning

I was merrily minding my own business driving along to work when out of the slip road just past the Crosshands roundabout out popped a huge truck with a trailer behind it so I slowed down and let him in and was waiting for the column of cars in the outside lane to pass me before pulling out, when all of a sudden the trailer started billowing blue and white smoke as the two back wheels simply locked up....

I slammed on thinking I was about to become intimately entangled in the truck in front of me because I thought the truck driver had slammed his brakes on hard.... only to see the truck carry on and still have all this smoke pouring from the wheels of the trailer, well after I managed to push my heart back into my chest I started flashing the driver (with my headlights.....rolls eyes), by this time sparks were flying off the wheels as they were rubbed down to the wire braid they have in them, I continued flashing then beeping as did the rest of the cars behind me and to my side, eventually the driver after about 3/4 of a mile pulled over to the hard shoulder, by this time the back wheels of the trailer were a full on blaze..... and as I was driving past, the truck driver jumped out of the truck with his fire extinguisher and in my rear view mirror was dealing with the blaze....

Certainly woke me up !!!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

The great Christmas tree hunt

I overdid it again it seems we are now the proud owners of THE most ENORMOUS Christmas tree EVER....

I took the 2nd youngest (well Freya is a bit young to wield a bow saw) to Salem near Llandeilo to chop down our own Christmas tree, I took my "estrangier" daughters there once and I'm sure we got a more modest one on that occasion, either that or we had higher ceilings...... anyway we arrived at the Christmas tree emporium, which is basically a bit of land set aside which is planted year in year out with Christmas trees and their sole purpose is to die horribly in some centrally heated house at some point, we both walked up to the rather grubby looking father Christmas with a beard that wouldn't have looked out of place hanging off an Aberdeen Angus's backside.....I asked the jolly gentleman if I could have a bow saw and handed it to the eager and budding lumberjack, we then went off into the plantation to pick our tree, it was more difficult than we expected there were lots of trees there but none seemed suitable either too big or too bushy or too straggly, all the good ones had gone :(

anyway after much trudging around on the icy hill top I went down into this little valley leaving the budding lumberjack to his own devices within view I might add !!! Anyway I thought I saw a suitable candidate and I started back up the hill and could hear the familiar Zzzzzz Zzzzzzz Zzzzzz of a bow saw on fresh green wood, as I turned the corner there he was hacking through a sapling birch tree !!!


"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" I exclaimed "that's not a Christmas tree"

"yeah but it's nicer than the other ones it doesn't have any needles on it"

"you're missing the point you numpty !!!" I replied as I removed the bow saw from his death like grip unlike the young sapling birch tree which had practically been murdered where it was standing.....we wandered off and hoped the birch survived..although the first bit of wind in the wrong direction and it will be on the floor of that I'm sure...

This seemingly fruitless exercise went on for about another half an hour when all of a sudden we saw our candidate, it was at least 15 foot high but had a good shape at the top half of it so I eyed up it's trunk and started to chop it down about three and a half feet up the trunk, the budding lumberjack shouted "Timbberrrrrrrrrrrrrr" and it flopped to the ground

we.....sorry I..... dragged it back to be bagged add tagged @ £3.50 a foot we bought a big cast iron tree holder of santa claus design....chosen by the budding lumberjack (albeit failed lumberjack on his tree identification skills) and some more lights and left the place £76 lighter, but a good proportion of that will be used again.....minus the tree of course.... the fun started when we tried to get it into the back of the Jeep the last two foot of it had to be bent over to close the back door !!!

I put the budding (failed) lumberjack on the back seat next to the tree and tried to drive home with a Norwegian Spruce pressing against my cheek, turning right was a challenge and required me to look under the tree to see if anything was coming

it was at this point I realised it "probably" wouldn't be a snug fit in our house......we got back and it was eventually dragged inside......Andrea got a little stressed to say the least and remembered why she didn't like real Christmas trees and came out in a sympathetic rash all over her arms....anyway after much careful tree surgery with a very sharp bread knife we managed to get it so it wasn't lifting the ceiling whilst it was in the tree holder.........The smell of pine was making my eye's water but my sinuses were clear and my hands were sticky with sap, but eventually it was up and the stress levels reduced noticeably ..... :)

"it's a bit big Derek ?" as Andrea stood back to admire her handiwork at decoration placement

"hmmmm it didn't look that big in the 4 acre field......fancy a cup of tea ?"

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Damn !!!

I now have two bayonets on the way I won both of them, never mind one of them can go back on ebay I should get back what I paid for it......hopefully..... I did suggest that I could take up knife juggling as a hobby or knife throwing although who I'm going to persuade to stand against the door I have no idea ;¬)

Freya has been an absolute moose today apparently, she seems to have really really good days followed by really really bad days....hopefully the cycle will just settle to really really good days all the time....but I'm not holding my breath neither is Andrea

well we have practically all the presents lined up...... again I can't go into detail for obvious reasons but they are nice :) and my step daughter has really bad tonsils and really isn't feeling well, she was sent to bed this evening .... but will she take anything ???? I dunno.....teenagers

the only other thing of note is that the xbox recluse has suffered the ultimate humiliation or the "ring of death" on his xbox 360 whatever that is, apparently it's terminal (or should that be console....geddit ?) and the xbox has to go back to microshaft to be replaced, his father has the receipts apparently because they didn't arrive last year when he said he was sending them so who knows where they are either way bandwidth on the broadband is definitely a lot perkier since the "ring of death" arrived ;¬) we might even get a full sentence out of him if he stays away from it long enough

Monday, 17 December 2007

Ooooops

I ordered 1000 litres of heating oil early last week and as far as I knew it hadn't turned up, so I sent a snotty email off to the oil company, I get home tonight expressing my disgust at the companies obvious lack of service only to be told by my darling wife that they had delivered it on Friday !!!!

"oooops didn't I tell you ?"

Never mind job done tank topped up everybody warm and toasty for Christmas etc etc

I've been giggling to myself in work today during the enormous slack moments because it's Christmas and nobody seems to care if their computer is working properly......They are all probably out wearing silly hats and drinking far too much to care "another mince pie ?"

anyway to fill in these enormous gaps in an otherwise normally frantic days work......I've been reading a forum for ex service men and one thread in particular caught my eye, it was about Celle in the 80's where I used to be posted and particularly the actual regiment I served in, in fact I'm still reading it there are so many posts relating to that time and place, I'm just reading about an incident when one of our blokes offended a green jacket (different Regiment) and all his mates tried to ram his head through a plate glass window outside the Bierdorf nightclub.....nice" ...... I remembered a lot of what the guys were saying on it, things that happened on exercises etc, personalities, events... you know "ohhhh yeah I remember that" and "do you remember when so and so did that ?" and what are you doing now moments.......etc

but one thing that nearly made me spit my coffee out all over my keyboard was a post referring to my darling of an ex wife who used to work in the Naafi......it seems she is remembered quite fondly (by quite a few).........lets just say there was a lot I didn't actually know about her and what she got up to when I was on exercise.....the most bizarre post was "that honey that used to work in the Naafi who used to empty the bins" and it's definitely her because somebody said "Smike's wife ?"(somebody we both knew)...."no" he said "the other one the dark haired one"....... it was quite hilarious reading through it..... it's true what they say ......beware your sins will find you out (even if it is 26 years later)

ahhhhh happy days................... :)

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Well I bet the Government are quaking in their boots

After this weekend's fuel protests, I saw the enormous turnout they had in Cardiff on the local news there must have been at least eight people there and two police officers....I'm glad I didn't have time to turn up because it would have been a complete waste of time and effort and above all "expensive" fuel....

on the transaction-2007 website they are stating that it was designed as a peaceful protest, they were right eight people hardly ever means an out and out riot....

I shall be watching their progress because apparently they are stepping up the protests after the new year, who knows maybe it was engineered to not upset Joe Public right before Christmas ???? ....we shall have to wait, I cannot believe the apathy of the UK sometimes (I can include myself in that statement) .....they/we just roll over and accept whatever their elected governments throw at them, be that higher taxes, ID cards (still in debate), Speed cameras (oooops sorry SAFETY CAMERA'S)..... the French have it right despite all their faults they hold a massive protest and barbecue at the ports when imported lamb threatens their livelihoods and dodge rubber bullets for a hobby....

The thing is it doesn't really matter which political party is elected these days they are all much of a muchness there is no distinction these days between the Tory blue and the Labour red, we have been melded into a practically colour blind nation with few expectations and just to accept our lot and get on with it....... and the ones that are different couldn't be trusted with loose change let alone the economy of a country..... and they keep trotting out statistics about how much better off we all are, and how the NHS has had more money spent on it than at any other time, or that how our education system is the best in the world (which makes me laugh considering we are 17th... I think..... in the world for languages and numeracy)

I was speaking to an ex Para on my health and safety course who had only recently left the Army and he didn't even know what "atropine" was and that they were never issued with it except for morphine during the Iraq war(s) ....considering we were supposedly trying to find Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction which I presume meant such things as nerve agent and other such nasties then why weren't the troops issued with atropine autojects which were standard issue in time of war when I was serving and the ONLY known antidote to nerve agent poisoning ??

he went on to tell me that now it's standard practice when a suspected gas attack alert was sounded they volunteered one of their own to "sniff" the air prior to giving the all clear, what the hell happened to the blot test and the various different field test papers you used to find out if gas or chemicals had been deployed ??? his answer was extremely depressing they were now trained to sacrifice one of their own if needed and weren't issued with blot test kits any more.....they'll be rationing ammunition next.....

Friday, 14 December 2007

I won something on Ebay !!!

Ok it's not a folding set of deck chairs or a mattress for a babies cot.....or in fact anything pink :)

but it's something I have always wanted it's a bayonet from an SLR (Self Loading Rifle) and ok it's not something you want to be discovered carrying around with you without a damn good reason...and mine is FISHING !!! :)

it has THE sharpest blade I have ever felt on a knife and it's scabbard or frog as it's called sharpens it automatically when you either put it in or take it out :)

it's un-issued so it's never been anywhere it shouldn't.... perish the thought...... you simply couldn't buy a knife like this in the high street, but because it has a collectable nature ie/ military memorabilia it's allowed, it has an 8" blade and makes an excellent cosh to bop the fish from this world into the next :)

and all for £25 !!! plus £3.50 post and packing..... a bargain !!!

just a tad pleased because I won it...... completely by default because I forgot about it and got back to it after the auction ended.....and found I had won it !!!

the last one I saw on ebay went for £65 ...... not that I would spend that much on one....£25 being more than enough

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Dentist today ....... :¬(

I had a very apt appointment time of 2:30pm (tooth hurty.... infantile I know but very apt)
I was scheduled to have two minor fillings and a tooth extraction but when I got there and the dentist eventually called me in 3/4 hour later than my appointed time because he was running very late....... between the both of us we decided not to pull the tooth because the gum had closed over the remaining three quarters of the tooth and the xray looked like he would need semtex to loosen it... anyway he decided to fill one of my front bottom incisors with a white filling it was only a very small filling but that was only after he had emptied very nearly all of his anaesthetic supply into my bottom jaw.... it's 6pm now and my lower jaw still feels like it's been borrowed from a butchers block and it's very bizarre touching my goatee and chin it feels like somebody else's..... anyway I'm a grand total of £39 lighter for one filling I probably had six times that in anaesthetic !!!

Apparently if I had one or all of my teeth filled in one session it would still be £39 so sort of buy one get all of em done free - ish... it was very painful, he said it's probably THE most difficult tooth to numb, in the end I just said carry on rather than pump me full of more anaesthetic.... he had to stop anyway it was starting to leak out of my ears......anyway I endured raw agony for 5 minutes as he reamed out the previous filling....all I can remember about the encounter is him saying "sorry hurting" in his broken English.....my guess is he was thrown out of the Nazi party for cruelty ;¬)

anyway changing the subject slightly......apparently there was a bad crash on the M4 this morning, two cars had had a minor bump and pulled over to the hard shoulder to inspect the damage and exchange details and some lorry driver had ploughed into the back of them, either way the M4 was closed while they picked the bits up, the M4 recently seems to have at least one bad smash a week these days.....mad..... I caught the news just as I was leaving for work.......I dutifully punched in "avoid M4" into my GPS and it took me the exact same way everybody else was being guided by their GPS's, it's quite comical actually as I looked up the row of cars stuck at the same set of lights as me all indicating the same direction, and they all had their GPS on and they all went exactly the same way as I did, it's almost like convoys form as if by magic when some major road gets closed off, I managed to escape the satellite city convoy by punching in "avoid sheep at next junction" and it worked (actually I just told it to take me the most direct route possible) and in no time at all I was winding my way down dirt tracks with grass in the middle of the road bouncing badgers off the front of my car.....but alas I suddenly appeared at a road I recognised and I was off.....wasn't even late for work :)

Monday, 10 December 2007

Fuel Protests are revving up ;¬)

As you may or may not know the group which were responsible for the 2000 fuel protests are back, and I've got to admit I'm with them on this.......although I can't see me chaining myself to the running board of my 4x4 or pop riveting myself to my bonnet, the last protests caused havoc in the UK I think this time around with the police and the powers they have now, anybody carrying a Nike sports bag can be jumped on and arrested for terrorism....I have a feeling it will go well to start with then be blown out like a candle in the wind......one suggestion though which I thought was a pretty good one, was to park up outside refineries not unlike a Tesco's car park on a Saturday afternoon (but more organised and orderly) ........have a (sober) nominated key carrier to whisk all the car keys off site and the protesters then get blind drunk so the police can't force you to drive your car off the protest site.....I have to admit it would cause havoc all the cars having to be towed away......


Even better do it in Liverpool or Leeds or Manchester and just wait for all the wheels to be nicked ;¬)

it does make my blood boil how the government keep heaping taxes on drivers in the guise of "green" taxes yet nothing seems to EVER materialise in the shape of

"look we have ploughed all this green tax money into Hydrogen fuel cell development and have developed a Carbon free car which cost's £0.10p a mile to run".......

no instead they want to put up a veritable forest of wind farms along our beautiful coastline where we will end up looking like Blackpool pleasure beach.......in fact why don't they go the whole hog and paint the blades different colours ?????

wind farms are fine when the wind is blowing but on a flat calm day where it's supposed to provide 60% of our energy ....eventually(.....yeah right)..... what happens then ?....... "sorry you can't have a cup of tea the wind has dropped"

Do you realise that petrol would be £0.19p a litre if the Government (I use the word very loosely) didn't have ANY tax on fuel but that's extremely unlikely they depend so heavily on fuel taxation now to give any meaningful tax cut on fuel would mean the cockle picking industry would collapse (think about it) and the NHS might actually turn a profit

The picture I have used above is based on prices before the recent tax/price hike in most cases fuel is well over £1.00 a litre.....ahhhhh those heady and much cheaper days

Sunday, 9 December 2007

We are in Wales .....you know

and that explains why the river at the bottom of our field is flowing to it's brim and had in some places burst it banks, you don't really appreciate it unless you have seen it in summer running normally a babbling lovely river, put it this way if I went to fish right now where I did this summer it would be a good foot over my head and not even my waterproof gear would stop me getting wet.......probably still wouldn't catch any fish and drowning would be a high probability ;¬)


Well the Christmas buying frenzy has started in our house, I can't say what has been bought because certain people in this household read this blog from time to time..... I've put my foot down a bit though, I don't see the point in buy tat that will be used once and then take up a corner in the house until it's thrown out.......we are going for functional presents this year, something they will appreciate and hopefully get "some" use out of, (well bar one which I suspect will be used once then never used again.....) we have decided not to buy each other presents, it's a bit pointless neither of us have any clue what to get the other and we have practically everything we need or want anyway....(I did hint at an Aston Martin DB9....but I'm not holding my breath) plus it saves us money something which there is precious little of at the moment, I tell you Christmas comes along at the worst time of the year, it always has ;¬)

I've also been tubed for the worst possible dog shifts over Christmas, and that's because I wasn't entitled to paternity leave so had to take my holiday instead....hopefully it will be quiet.... we will be down to a two man team.....and yes you've guessed it I'm one of them :(

nothing much else to report, Freya is coming along leaps and bounds, sometimes she is a sweet smiley girl sometimes a witch in a growbag.....pretty normal stuff really :)

Andrea's parents are coming down soon to do the Christmas drop and I believe they are staying over for the night, not sure..........they are most welcome as usual......I had best stock up on the Rioja for Dorothy and the cheap french beer for Roger.....he could have ANYTHING but apparently he likes the cheap french beer.....there is no accounting for taste

We have also decided to NOT have turkey for Christmas dinner this year as to what we ARE having I don't know yet, I do know it doesn't include any kind of stuffing chestnut or otherwise

Friday, 7 December 2007

Well I passed the health and safety course :)

In fact everybody did, in fact they have only EVER had one failure and I suspect that was a cerebrally challenged single celled organism which just happened to be passing the classroom and decided to take the test......it's a no brainer.... it's basically a bit of card with your mug on it, to show you know what is and isn't dangerous, the majority of it is common sense but by the very nature of accidents unless they are avoidable then that's what they are "accidents" and I guess it's making you aware of how to make things avoidable if you can

we did have a good discussion about what a "near miss" was....I explained that there is no such thing as a "near miss" because a "near miss" is actually a "hit".... if you nearly miss something then that means you have actually hit it.......(think about it) it took a while for it to sink in around the table but eventually everybody "got" what a ridiculous statement a "near miss" is, we decided a "near hit" was more accurate, I then pointed out that the instructors video recorder didn't have a valid electrical safety sticker on it and that it ran out in June of last year.....

nobody likes a smartarse ;¬)

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Health and Safety.......

Quite possibly the driest subject on the planet probably even drier than the Gobi desert in the middle of a heatwave, as courses go, but I need to do it so I can have my passport to safety which will allow me onto various sites around the country and show anybody that's interested that I can indeed breath unaided and don't feel the need to throw myself into fast moving machinery by accident or suffer horrendous crush injuries by standing behind fork lift trucks or lorries whilst they reverse, or in fact try to drink molten metal........ and I won't even go into how dangerous ladders are, and that indeed falling from height is hazardous to your health...(actually that isn't technically correct....you are fine while you are falling, it's the stopping that causes the injury ;¬) )

I know it's a case of dotting the I's and crossing the T's from a corporate point of view.........but I would still rather stick pins in my eyeballs than have to sit through another day of flowcharts, consequences and responsibility chains.......which reminds me I have to go back tomorrow for day two of the course and be presented with my "Safety Passport".......looking on the bright side they do a fabulous lunch and even provide tea and coffee with some indescribable biscuits but it really isn't good enough ...........now where did I put those pins looks like I am going to need them ???

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

And for my next trick

I decided to walk over to the local tesco's today to get my lunch for a change, anyway I trudged across the sodden ground and walked past the discount tile warehouse and noticed they had blocked off a vehicle access port and had turfed over it, so I gingerly walked up it remembering the ground was sodden with a recent torrential downpour and probably extremely slippery, I got to Tesco's bought my sandwich and start the long walk back to the office......I got to the very same place and completely forgot they had recently turfed over this vehicle access port starting my walk up it ......fine.........started my walk down it.....and you know you get that moment every now and again where you should have been paying attention to where your feet were going ?

well I can quite honestly say I hold the distance record for surfing a grass turf (is this what they mean by "surf and turf" ? ) and finishing with a very artistic kneeling split all whilst texting on my phone, I got up and looked down at my knee which had ploughed up a considerable trench in the newly laid turf.......swore several times and continued back to work with the left trouser leg swinging under the weight of the mud I had collected, fortunately I was able to dry my shin off under the hand dryer and brushed the majority of the mud off once it was dry..... but lesson learned.....don't eat Tesco sandwiches !!!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Happy smiley faces :)

Well here is smiling girl :)..... she seems to smile at the drop of a hat now and has a wicked sense of humour....


My tooth is giving me extreme jip, but I'm off to the dentist tomorrow so hopefully the outcome will involve little pain and long term gain :)

I went around to my parents tonight after work to sort out their installation of Ubuntu linux, my Dad apparently is a habitual button clicker.... ie/ lets see what this one does....ooooops.... anyway I put things right it was nothing serious and my mother gave Andrea and I a lovely fresh pasta maker, a soft toy for Freya and a £20 voucher for wine......which we are at this very minute selecting online our choices..... sounds like the conveyor belt from a 1970's generation game reading that back...(didn't he do well ????)

Anyway it was very thoughtful of her :) although I thought I had escaped endless pasta dishes with my first wife......but I have to say Andrea does know how to cook up a mean pasta dish....it even tastes nice, which I have to say was a bit of a novelty ;¬)

Sunday, 2 December 2007

My 100th post and to specially mark this wonderful anniversary.....

I have snapped a back molar !!! not on a toffee, or even a hard boiled sweet......but a piece of toast !!!

if you have been reading my blog you will recall I had a rather harrowing root canal done on a tooth which had been butchered then neglected and finally the ex spetsnatz KGB trained dentist who I was under her expert torture was sent back to Poland to the salt mines in disgrace.....well it's the very same tooth, I bit into a piece of toast transferred it back to my molars on the right side to be seen to......and there was this horrendous ping/crack......no pain just a crack that seemed to resonate inside my skull...that's when I thought that didn't sound quite right for chewing a piece of toast. At first I thought I had something on my piece of toast which had been quite forcefully chewed into submission by my back molars (not the first time I might add) but no luck .....

Ironically I am booked into to see the dentist on Tuesday which was going to be a routine check-up with a scale and buff up with added Vim....again it seems I have lucked out, Andrea tells me half the tooth has cracked off at a sharp angle with the cracked off bit grimly hanging onto my gum which means only one thing......it's a deep crack... :( it probably means it will have to come out..... at this rate I'm going to end up looking like bugs bunny or a very bald vampire...

(well if it worked for Nosfuratu it can work for me)ahhhh well they say as you get older bits start falling off

now where did I put that rather fetching toupee I bought off Ebay ?

I'm sore all over, I feel like I have been run over by a battle tank and now my teeth are falling out......at least the jeep can go around corners safely ;¬)

onward and upward...... :)

The shock absorbers are on....

And it's a completely different car....it even goes around corners now and you don't feel like you're playing the lottery as to if you'll make it out the other side. I have to say that after riding on the same shock absorbers since it was bought in 1997-98 they proved just a tad difficult to remove, and I am aching in places I never thought I had muscles....my back feels like I've been rolling around on marbles all night...... all I can say is whoever invented WD40 and hammers .....Thank you !!! to say they needed replacing is an understatement, the rear shock absorbers could be held up and they would slowly slide to their full extent and if you tipped them up the other way they would full contract in about 20 seconds, slack to say the least, That said it only took me 3 1/2 hours to replace all four shock absorbers..... but today I am taking on the anti roll bar, theoretically it's fairly simple it's only two connectors bolted onto an iron bar with some bushings which sits between and in front of the front wheels between each axle....However this is a two and a half ton jeep we are talking about not a Nissan Micra and the anti roll bar is made of steel and is as thick as my wrist..... I am bruised to hell from the battering I gave the front and rear suspension yesterday (it's not often you bruise your palms and have spanner rash all over your knuckles is it ?) so I'm going to dose up on painkillers wait for them to kick in then "once more into the breach my friends" I'll come back in the house looking like a black and white minstrel again, but it isn't going to beat me, I'm just glad I have a fully kitted out garage complete with a full length inspection pit right next to the house.....because it's hammering down outside :)


Anti roll bar is done too !!! :)


Well it's 4:00pm and the anti roll bar is properly installed instead of clattering around on one side, it turns out the garage that did it a few months ago had forgotten to fit a washer under one of the bushings which caused the nut to work it's way up through the rubber bushing destroying it and the one above it, they have been fitted properly now with new connectors and bushings and I took it for a test drive and it sticks to the road, I must say gas shock absorbers give a much better ride than hydraulic ones even 10 year old ones ;¬)

I did manage to drop one side of the anti-roll bar on my head, it's ok though the roll bar wasn't damaged in the slightest but it bloody hurt !!!! other than that it went pretty much like clockwork, it makes one hell of a difference working in an enclosed garage with a full size inspection pit, it would have taken me a lot longer and I would have been incredibly wet by the finish without it.....plus it's nice and draught free it almost makes me want to throw the towel in on IT consultancy and take up car mechanics........NOT.....I'm sending Andrea out in it to St Clears to get a bottle of wine and I'm going to soak myself to near death in a hot bath before every muscle I possess seizes up through over use........file servers and computers are much easier to fix ........I'll never complain again about them.....I promise..... despite all that it has saved me a fortune in car repairs considering Nissan in Crosshands were going to charge me £87 EACH side plus £75 an hour labour + VAT that would have been £500 to start with, not including the anti roll bar so easily £500 - £600 whereas it cost me £179 from Milners off road and a bit of my time and elbow grease and several torn muscles....worth it ? .... I think so :~)

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Christmas is looming.....again

it's that time of year where you have to rack your brain thinking of things to buy that the intended recipient might like, I have to admit I really don't like Christmas one little bit, mainly because its so commercial these days, secondly because I miss my children, and thirdly because I don't actually believe in God, which after all is what it's all about, I used to believe in God a long long time ago, I even got baptised, you know the full body immersion thing, but over the years little things crept up on me that didn't tally with the gospel or the bible and it left me in that place where I had a foot in both camps and the gap was getting wider, eventually I jumped to the dark side (use the force luke....)

you see I like things to be explainable or to have some tangible grasp on reality, something which the Bible and Christianity failed miserably on to me at least, and the knowledgeable people within the fold so to speak when posed with the many questions I had over the years which questioned their very faith simply said "well that's what faith is" and you see that has never been enough for me....

it was those huge gaps in Christianity filled in with huge wodges of faith which had no explanation other than the well worn "that's what faith is" which eventually made me turn into a Jedi on the dark side ;¬) it wasn't helped by some of the people within the church who used to refer to me as Derek Brabrook then whisper "he's backslidden you know" a term which I never really understood, because I was having great difficulty getting anywhere near the slope or their heady heights to slip if you see what I mean ?

I was still tripping over how we were seeing light from stars billions of miles away if the earth was only 6000 years old ? and why tyrannosaurs weren't chasing Adam and Eve around the garden looking for their next tasty morsel and how the hell snakes were the first on earth before their eggs......ahhhh sorry I forgot "creation " another HUGE leap of the imagination required, which brings me nicely back to Dinosaurs, how the hell did man manage NOT to become Dino feed if we were on the earth first ? surely any self respecting member of the Adam and Eve club would have made sure that Velociraptor's and Tyrannosaurs and any of the really big nasty dinosaurs were either killed off or had their sharp teeth filed down and claws removed !! surely ? and I won't even start to talk about why Genesis makes no mention of our reptilian past, mind you it's a good job because if Noah had put a pair of Tyrannosaurs in the Ark it's unlikely there would be ANY life left on earth except for some fossilised pair of dinosaurs who died of overeating in amongst a load of rotted wood, that is if you believe that such a boat/ship could have been made to carry two of everything at that time, even in biblical times to have an Ark capable of carrying two of every species it would have been enormous, then you have food to consider and water, but then again if Jesus can feed 5000 with a few loaves of bread and some water anything is possible....if you believe that is, personally I think the dinosaurs were killed off by a huge meteorite or a massive volcanic eruption either of which would have blacked out the sun long enough to kill off all but the hardiest of animals, and at least it's not as weird as some of the theories flying around like the earth is flat and the 1960 moon landings didn't take place, in which case where did 841 lbs of moon rock come from ? and how did the laser reflectors get up there ?


anyway lets get back to Christianity.....you see it's all these little things that cause me huge problems with Christianity, I don't have any problem with other people who believe and I certainly don't hold it against them if they get some kind of comfort from it..... but it's simply not for me, if you consider most civilisations have some form of afterlife and/or deity or have had in the past and the whole beauty of religion in that form is that you can never find out before you die if it's actually true..... which makes it the perfect religion, always new believers and you never get any dead customers turning up complaining

hands up anybody who knows somebody who has come back from the dead and said it's all true ?

which smart arse said "Jesus" ? ? ........there is always one .....get out !!! ;¬)

that's like the Pope saying he sells life insurance, actually I haven't looked into the Vatican they probably do ;¬) well you know they make you an offer you can't refuse ;¬)

Freya the incredible sleeping baby

Fingers crossed we have sussed why she has been waking up through the night, Andrea put her in one of those grow bag things they are a bit like a sleeping bag but with arms.... she only woke up once I think and Andrea got a full FIVE hours sleep last night....!!! we think it's because she wriggles in her sleep (Freya not Andrea) and eventually she is so far out from under her duvet she wakes up cold, but last night seemed to work :)

she ended up on my chest again this morning face down and to the side sprawled out like a drowning victim in a starfish pose, I only put her there because she was whinging laying next to me, as soon as she was on my chest she was off to lah lah land again, with the cutest little baby snore....that's mah gurl !!! ;¬)

Work is going ok, it's a bit hectic of late but at least I'm not sitting here bored to death, I'm off to a safety at work induction early December apparently it's so I can be let loose on the various sites we look after around the country.....joy....more whiteboards and obvious statements like "walk don't run, don't trip over and if you have to wear a suicide vest to work then please detonate it in the wilderness of Cumbria to avoid injuring others" type of thing, ah well it's only a two day course and at least I don't have to stay in a cloned hotel chain bedroom watching only one out of the four channels available because the rest look like they have been filmed in Norway during a blizzard......home comforts go a long way :)

and I've just got a quote for heating oil 1500 litres is going to dent the bank balance to the tune of £651.89, I wish the Americans would get the hell out of Iraq, so I can turn the heating up a bit ;¬)

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Shocked !!! to say the least

My brand new shock absorbers arrived the next day delivered by a Godzilla of a woman, it wasn't until she got to within five feet of me I realised it was a woman !!! (in fact I'm not convinced she was a woman, he might have had moobs ) I'm also doing the anti roll bar as well so Saturday so should be fun....up to my eyeballs in grease and grime down an inspection pit.....Joy

but it's got to be done I'm not forking out ANOTHER £70 per tyre eight months down the line

I've not heard anything back from the Child Deprivation Agency, but you watch they'll turn up with the bailiffs demanding I sell my step children to support my biological ones....(hmmmm how many sheckles do you get for kids these days ?) .....

anyway nothing exciting to report it's much of a muchness these days, the only thing of note was that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs have put me on an emergency tax code, which is an improvement on being dead I suppose.... it's getting expensive to live in this country what with fuel tax, VAT, tax, more tax and then some .....you guessed it TAX.

I saw on the news they are taxing pigeon fanciers but not trampolinist's or arm wrestlers ? go figure !!! they'll get you in the end mark my words (window tax next.....again.... !!!).... I'm seriously hoping the hauliers start blockading the fuel refineries.....I'd do it myself but I don't think a Peugot 205 XL 1.1 litre or a Nissan Terrano (low slung version) is much of a threat to them to be honest, but if they do..... lets see how long it takes for price to drop......which reminds me I must get a quote on heating oil.......it's all happening

Monday, 26 November 2007

I've given in

Yup, I have shopped around enough for shock absorbers for the Jeep, with prices varying from the sublime to the completely ridiculous £30 each is the final price I have settled on, the Nissan garage in Cross hands where I bought the Jeep wanted £86 each plus fitting !!! plus I've just put two new tyres on the front @ £67 each + VAT and considering the last pair only lasted 8 months, it is time to bite the bullet.....

It was a friend who told me about "Milner Off Road" based in Derbyshire, they specialise in all things Japanese and 4x4..... it's the first time I have used them so I will reserve judgement on the quality of the parts, but I've done a bit of research on the net and by all accounts they are pucker !! we shall see :)

The Xbox recluse aka "Master Chief" had his 16th birthday bash at our house over the weekend, he invited all his friends I'm not sure how many were there but a fair selection and a few girls as well so a good mix, we left them to it and besides cleaning up a bit of devastation before we went to bed, it went well or "Legendary" as he put it.... and no dead bodies to sweep up the next morning so that was a relief

Freya seems to be growing up so quickly she has quite a character already.....and a killer smile :)

Thursday, 22 November 2007

let the battle commence.....

Well the CSA have excelled themselves, as the behemoth of wasted tax payers money lumbers into view waving bits of funny coloured paper at me dragging their club in the dirt with a nail sticking out of it....whilst dribbling drool from their fat lip..... not only have they not acknowledged my appeal which was lodged quite a few weeks ago, they have sent a threatening letter stating all the amazing superpowers they will unleash on me to extract payment from me, I think it's a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing to be honest with you, a bit like a dinosaur but with fewer brain cells, so I have attached my two previous letters stating that I am appealing yet again, and the reason why I haven't paid my first instalment because I'm APPEALING (you idiots!!!) .....duhhhhhh...... if they want bureaucracy they can have it....as much as they like in triplicate and by the spadeful.....I must upgrade my printer to 60 pages a minute at some point

Don't get me wrong I'm not against paying child maintenance one little bit, now that I have a salary it's only right and proper, but I don't like being treated like some bottomless money pit they think they can dip into whenever they like when I get nothing in return .....not even a receipt !!! this would have been far simpler if my ex wife had encouraged OUR children to keep in contact with me, and have some level of communication going, instead now there is this vast chasm of unfamiliarity between me and my children, and I am beginning to doubt we will ever meet up again, which is very sad because the person I was with my ex is not the person I am now, DJB is BACK !! and he has been away a long time.....lets face it if you eat something bad it makes you feel sick.....and 22 years of feeling sick would even alter the Popes sense of humour (if he has one)... besides if there was some human element or reason for this demand for payment I would have a completely different outlook on it, my wife's ex can see his children whenever he likes, he rings them and talks to them....there are no limits put on the contact he has or that they have with him..... if only my old tarnished ex wife was as "normal" as my new shiny wife..... ohh look a full squadron of flying pigs above !!! ;¬)

on a slightly brighter note, Freya is starting to smile not bad for a month old !! it's definitely not wind, and she hasn't quite mastered it yet, but she definitely does it in response to something that tickles her sense of humour......she definitely takes after her Dad she can sneeze and fart at the same time ;¬)

The jeep is going in to have yet another two tyres fitted to the front tomorrow morning it's chewing them faster than Preseli Tyres can fit them, but as of yet I haven't found a sensible person with sensible prices for the shock absorbers.... and considering it's going to cost more than I paid for the other car it's not happening just yet......besides we have other expenses like heating oil, enormous phone bills and two teenagers who seem to eat more than a sumo tag wrestling team........then there is Christmas...... lets not go there just yet, I know it's coming but if I just put this duvet over my head I might just miss it !!!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Finally a bit of weekend to myself :)

The Saturday consultancy went well, rather than have to reinstall the whole Windows 2003 server I opted for a hidden away utility on the server called DCGPOfix.exe which is a last ditch effort to save the default domain policy from being cast away into the ether with a fresh install, I held my breath after Microsoft warned me several times of the severity of my actions, and at the last prompt of "are you really really really definitely sure you want to do this heinous action ?" I said "Y"

it went away and did it's stuff all of two seconds work and I rebooted the server with baited breath as I started collecting the CD's together for the inevitable reinstall of the server operating system (not that I have any faith in anything Microsoft or anything) .........anyway it booted up and low and behold something that Microsoft made ACTUALLY worked !!! I checked all the workstations and applied the group policy and voilĂ  all was well with the world and I breathed a sigh of relief, I promptly did a domain policy backup and secreted it away on the server in some dark corner just in case it needed to be brought out again and restored in anger, and swore at the software company that had dared to dabble in the default domain policy with the expertise of a colour blind American Gunnery Sgt giving a fire mission on blue targets......incomingggggg !!!!!

Anyway I packed up my stuff and left feeling quite chuffed with myself for not having to spend the next 7 hours there re-doing what had been done before because of some idiot who thought he knew better....(stick to Lego you'll have a higher success rate and do less damage)

Freya kept us up last night or should I say she mainly kept Andrea up, but it's hard to be angry with such a gorgeous girl..........she even has a dimple !!! regardless of dimple we are both quite tired....

I'm off to London this afternoon for a 9am start in the big smoke, not really looking forward to it, but it has to be done, meanwhile I can smell the roast dinner cooking....it smells delicious... it makes me want to go to London even less !!! actually it's Surrey but it's close enough to the M25 to qualify as London

there probably won't be anything on this blog for the next two days, you'll have to find some other drivel to read ;¬)

Thursday, 15 November 2007

When does it end ?

I've had enough now....(well nearly)..... I didn't get much sleep on the day I drove back from Deeside, last night Freya kept us awake on the hour every hour with the accuracy of a digital clock, three of the team are off, two of them with the dreaded lurgy and one on holiday, so that leaves two of us manning support, with an ever increasing call queue mounting up, on top of that my IT skills are booked this Saturday probably ALL day, and on Sunday I drive to London for a two day course...... ohhh to just flop in front of the TV and relax and have nothing to do.....or less......I'd settle for less right now




other than that life seems to be ticking along nicely if a bit busy of late



the only other fly in the ointment is the BT call barring, which after Andrea spoke to India Telecoms Group as they are known in our house, actually it's much less flattering than that but lets not go there, she was told that I apparently had to give them a 4 digit PIN, which they never asked for when I set it up, so consequently we still cannot make anything other than local calls or calls within a 35 mile radius until the PIN, which I apparently told them arrives at the house via snail mail, and that could take 7 to 10 days..... if it goes on much longer I'll just have to ring them up and tell them to remove it, although knowing them I'll probably have to use the PIN I didn't tell them to do it

My stepdaughter did make me laugh last night, she was complaining she couldn't ring any of her friends because her phone credit/contract had been used up for this month and the home phone had call barring on it, (duhhhhh precisely.....) I think she thought the bill hadn't been paid, but I assured her it had...albeit grudgingly, besides it's on a direct debit straight from my bank account, I explained that she was quite welcome to ring her friends on their land lines but that I'm afraid wasn't good enough......so we gave her the option of having call barring taken off and at the end of the month and all the calls she makes and anybody else in the house to their friends on their mobiles taken out of their pocket money, she opted of course for the call barring to be taken off..... then the penny dropped rather dramatically that she wouldn't have very much pocket money to spend if we were paying out £75 on calls, 65% of which were calls to mobiles..... maybe the realisation that the land line isn't free especially to mobiles is finally being brought home to them, in fact I wouldn't mind one bit if any of the kids chatted to their friends for as long as they liked (because it's free) as long as there was a copper wire between them and not AIR !!!... although to be fair I have a feeling this months inflated phone bill was down to the Xbox recluse, I would much rather spend the money on the kids that gave them some benefit than hours of endless wittering about who is going out with who, and how so and so dumped X, and wasn't it really really funny......not....


They both have mobiles and when the credit runs out on them "we" and it's very much a "we" and not a "me" do not expect them to start running up the land line bill, I expect it will end in tears of some sort..... but they don't cost anything ......thankfully

Mr Grumpy, Tired, Knackered and most definitely right :)

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

I made it back from Deeside.....eventually

I left there at about half past midnight, I tried a Travelodge near Wrexham on the way back but it was full, so I was kind of committed to driving myself home really.... down the not very straight A483 right through the centre of Wales, anyway the first pit stop I stoked up on food (well it could be loosely called that I suppose) and Red Bull and started my bleary eyed drive back home after my 2 day shift up north, I had the mother of all headaches from not eating since breakfast which was made worse by the Red Bull when it hit the spot, but the sugar rush was brilliant !!! anyway it was that or fall asleep and drive over a ravine.... as it turned out I avoided the many ravines and I now fully understand why my first daughter Emma used to throw up on the way to see my parents who live in South Wales when we lived in Leeds (another grim place) I don't think it has an entire straight piece of road on it !! it does make it considerably worse if you have Red Bull and an anaemic chicken and mushroom slice swilling about in your stomach

the only drama on the drive back was me managing to smack a pheasant into the afterlife with my pool car.....You have no idea how many feathers a pheasant has I can assure you it's lots !!! and if you're partial to pheasant there is a ready plucked and tenderised one done a la Diesel Vauxhall Vectra Estate just about 2 miles north of Newtown lying in a ditch.... thankfully there was no damage to the car....after I wiped the copious amounts of pheasant bits off the front air dam I breathed a sigh of relief.....pheasant's are quite probably THE most stupid bird on the planet only slightly above that of a Dodo in the intelligence department....."what are those bright lights coming towards me......ohhhhh pretty lights...lovely prett....SMACK"

the only other news is that my darling wife has panned in the back of the beloved Terrano, it's not much damage looks a lot worse than it is, she thought I was going to go ballistic about it, but it's only a car there are more important things in life......like being happy :) ..... which I am.... if a little tired these days

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Hurry up and wait

Here I am stuck in the north of England in Deeside, with this thing <------- being drip fed an ISO image of Netware 5.1 SP6, over a network which seems to be connected via 2400 baud modems or probably via some moistened string.... to fix a server which went down over the weekend....the image is only 475mb arrrrghhhhhh...... it says 235 microsoft minutes so that could be months away in my experience of Microsoft promises on time

only once I have the ISO image can I fix the server......so hurry up and wait it seems, I was also supposed to be seeing another customer tonight but it's not looking good...in fact it's not looking anything at all

I was put up in a Premier Travel Inn about 10 miles away last night from where I'm currently working, there was nothing "Premier" about it, it's situated right next to a chemical factory and the whole night I kept waking up to the most awful smells drifting through my room, and it had nothing to do with the Indian meal I had to force down myself because it was too late for "proper" food.....

on the plus side I did manage to have a few pints with my mate Chris (well I had pints of man beer the shandy boy drank differently) anyway he lives a stones throw away from Chester so we did manage to put the world to rights......again

I am determined to leave this god awful place as soon as I am able....

I know why I moved from the north all those years ago..... it's bloody grim up here

I spoke to Andrea to give her the bad news about my non imminent arrival home and I could hear Freya coo'ing and ahhh'ing in her arms.....it plucked at the heartstrings a bit, she is growing up so fast now and has a lot of expression in her face, she has even learnt to frown but it's usually when she is about to fill her nappy..... I should imagine it takes quite a bit of concentration getting it right, and she gets it right quite often these days ;¬)

she is a very peaceful baby, or is at least when I get to hold her Andrea no doubt has experienced her full spectrum of strops being with her 24/7.....

anyway I must go and wait some more .... apparently it's 128 microsoft minutes now and the afternoon is disappearing fast ..............

fade to ..... "please release me, let me gooooooooooooooo"


update Deeside revisited :-

it's a quarter past four and the ISO image is all but here with 27 Microsoft minutes pending delivery.....and the good news is the disaster recovery procedure has worked, so the pressure is off me to try and fix this server without causing any loss of data, although they would prefer it if I did bring it back to the land of the living intact, because there is "some" data on it they want back so I may be leaving this God awful place sooner than I thought, the people that work here are fantastic, I've had a real laugh but I've had this potential loss of huge amounts of data hanging over me at the single press of a key.....

you watch I'll un-zip this iso image and it will fail the CRC check...... the toffee hammer and rusty razor blades behind a glass case are within easy reach, if only I had something for this banging headache I seem to have had all day ..... :(

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Another day......well it follows really

it's getting quite hard to spend any time with the new kid on the block, no sooner do I get her in my arms at home than somebody else is nagging me to hold her, but I did have a little snooze with her in bed this morning which was nice while Andrea woke up the older tribe members, she is getting more demanding now at two weeks old, I do feel sorry for Andrea being disturbed by her through the night but there isn't a lot I can do about it really...... not being equipped to meet her needs so to speak.....

I will be able to help a lot more once her reliance on "booby juice" lessens, she doesn't have many needs at the moment, a cuddle, warmth, food and a dry nappy and she seems to be happy :)

I'm working again this weekend :( same place.....sigh..... apparently they have a network problem, but I'm not convinced to be honest I shall see when I get there, either way I don't like working weekends it makes you feel as if you haven't had a break

My best mate Chris is "hopefully" coming down either after Christmas or before on the train, but that's another story, nothing has been finalised yet, it will be nice to see him it's been ages or seems it, hopefully Donna his long suffering wife will come too to coo and ahh over the baby, while Chris and I put the world to rights on the decking........again (providing it's not sub zero out there).... I do miss the pair of them to be honest we always have a laugh when we are together......well I do, I can't remember if they do or not ;¬)

anyway I'm just waiting for the off here at work, all systems are go green lights everywhere.....and relax .............

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Well it's legal now

We took Freya to the registrars this morning to write her name in stone, gone are the days the registrar dipped their quill into the inkwell it's all computers these days, endless tapping away at keyboards and eventually printed out through a HP laserjet 6.... how romantic ! and all for £3.50 at least the government hasn't jumped on the idea that you have to be born if all goes as planned and charge accordingly for it ......yet.... mind you they do fine you £750 if you don't register a birth within 6 weeks, so maybe they have covered all bases ?

nothing much happening at work I'm trying to unravel a previous colleagues enterprise installation of Mcafee Antivirus, there is no documentation and with 170 file servers (ish) it's getting a bit difficult tracking down which server is looking to which update server and which mirror repository is actually the real one, it's a pile of spaghetti really with no logical start or end.... But I'm half way through it and it keeps me busy through the times the rest of the LAN team aren't running around with their hair on fire fire fighting the latest disaster, it's a bit disconcerting realising that I am the only one on the team with any in-depth Netware knowledge left, if something catastrophic happens and I'm not here, a minor disaster could turn into a complete meltdown.... but they are looking for another member to join us, thankfully most of the servers are well behaved and I keep an eye on them and nail things before they become too serious

as for home life, things are settled other than the xbox recluse has a tidying ban on his room, and until he pulls his weight a bit his bedroom remains a no go zone for Andrea, his bedroom is a tip, mainly because he spends 95% of his free time on his Xbox or the computer....but he is going to learn the hard way it seems, the only person to give way on this will be the wannabe "master chief" because Andrea isn't lifting a finger until he does his bit, all of the other kids help to varying degrees except him

death or glory....... ;¬)

(she'll win she has toughened up a lot these last few years, and if the kids get away with anything....it's because we let them....)


and hopefully this new addition to the family won't like that devils food "Macdonalds" ....... there I said it

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Teenagers and mobile phones Gahhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!

We got our phone bill through for this month and it's £75 !!! it jumped from an average of £35 - £39 to £75 in a month !!!.... so after I picked myself up off the floor and finished breathing into my handy brown paper bag to avoid hyperventilation, I discovered that over 68% of the calls were to mobile numbers, now the kids had been told in no uncertain terms that mobile numbers were a complete no no, except to their father and only then when he wasn't near a land line or in a complete emergency like one of the kids arms had accidentally been cut off by a passing headless horseman because the phone bill was spiralling out of control.....yes they agreed nodding in unison......information in one ear ....dribbling out of the other....(can we go now?)

but to no avail they still use the land line like it's a 1980's CB radio.... to be picked up whenever they feel like it, to call whomever they like for as long as they like, or to try ringing the same mobile number over and over oblivious to the fact that it cost's £0.25p a shot to "try" and connect them, I have no idea what they are doing because most of the calls last for less than 5 seconds but cost more to connect than the actual cost of the call, and there are loads of them, I did have a handy stick I could shake at the phone bill but it snapped through over use, I'll have to use the one I shake at the electric bill and immersion heater now, but even that one is starting to show signs of imminent failure.....sighhhhhh

anyway after telling them, warning them, telling them again to stop it or I'll tell them to stop again.....the big guns have been wheeled out......as of tomorrow all national, international and mobile numbers are call barred on the home phone, unless the pin number is put in first, so now they have more chance of being hit by a 1970's American spy satellite in a decaying orbit than finding out what the pin is during their lifetime, and if it's not available it can't be abused...

The only other option is to bury them under the patio....but that's illegal apparently so I'll give it a miss......plus we don't have a patio anyway ;¬)

Monday, 5 November 2007

Not just any post but an M&S post

I am wearing not any ordinary woollen jumper today but an M&S jumper, in a very nice black colour and I used to love it, unfortunately it was put into not just any tumble dryer but our very own tumble dryer consequently it is now considerably smaller than it was and starting to moult like an 11 year old Labrador bitch when you touch it..... I got out of the car this morning and my trousers looked like they had been spattered with black ink, and it was only when I tried to brush it off I realised it was fall out from my previously immaculate jumper.....

So I rushed into the kitchen and started a procedure which I wish I hadn't, I wet my hands and started to brush off my trousers which worked fabulously, right up until I started on my jumper, needless to say my hands looked like a werewolf's by the time I had finished, and it was showing no signs of reducing, the more I brushed the more woolly my hands got.....

So I spent a good 10 minutes brushing myself down, only to be walked in on by one of my co workers who stopped dead in his tracks when confronted by my incredibly hairy hands.....anyway it gets worse, I washed my hands off in the sink and the sink is one of the ones that has a saniflow pump underneath it.... you know exactly where this is going don't you ?

yes the saniflow greedily ate all my fluff then made the most horrible screeching sound......

I quickly walked out of the kitchen and did an incredibly convincing "what the hell is that noise ???"....... an engineer is currently dismantling the saniflow.....I just hope he doesn't try and do forensic wool match on me or I'm sunk......;¬)

I got caught short by Freya over the weekend, I think this has happened to every parent on the planet, and it's all to do with timing, and face reading....

I was happily changing her rather full nappy, content in the fact that she couldn't possibly have anything left in her.... I had got to the stage where you are in between the dirty nappy and clean nappy swap, lifted her bottom up and was about to slide the clean one into place when...and this is the important bit, I should have been paying attention to the concentration written all over her face and her clenched fists, needless to say something had to give and it did, but you have a dilemma, do you quickly substitute the dirty nappy which is furthest away from her or quickly put the clean nappy under the offending bottom ? as it turned out my dithering was my undoing.... one perfectly clean blanket is now in the wash. I calculate you have less than half a second to make a decision at that critical moment, which is bizarre really because there shouldn't be any dithering because nappies are for catching poop ....sooner or later


at this point I'll take a nod to Roger who emailed me this morning and told me he is reading my blog, you're welcome Roger, just try not to read it when you're drinking coffee at work or wine come to think of it, keyboards hate the stuff ;¬)

I think I have 6 readers now (well 6 that admit it)....tomorrow the world !!!!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

New Keyboard purchased

My blog should be easier to read now ;¬)

I considered waiting until I could place an order with my supplier, but with their delivery charges sky rocketing to a whole £8.75 per order it kind of makes a mockery of buying a £6 Cherry keyboard...........which happen to be my favourite keyboards probably because I have never had one back as faulty in all the years I have been supplying them, notwithstanding being doused in wine or another similar fluid....

I thought I had a few spare keyboards in the shed but I used the last new one on my stepdaughters ubuntu linux computer, anyway it wasn't until I inspected them that I noticed an axe had been put through them, needless to say they didn't fair very well from the encounter, and I have a feeling it won't be covered by any warranty

So off I went to Carmarthen's PC-World much as I hate ANY PC-World, because they are over priced and in the same line of business as me, after I waltzed in through the swishy doors my eyes came to rest on their keyboard offerings, from a basic PC-Line £8.50 keyboard right up to the latest and greatest from Microsoft for £149 !!! the only difference between the really cheap keyboard and the really ridiculously expensive one was

A) Microsoft Logo
B) Wireless

you could apparently set it to display one of several alternating colours whilst you used it (really useful....not) plus it was ergonomic which is a laugh because if you are taught to type to RSA standard as I was in the Army you soon realise that the whole keyboard layout is wrong for a touch typist in the UK, it would be fine if you were American because they are taught different keys with different fingers....

and seeing as I have no desire to light my face up in a darkened room with various colours or brush my fingers over laser etched key caps while I stroke the nicely embossed Microsoft Logo I plumped for the el cheapo £8.50 PC-Line one, which although isn't as nice as my Cherry keyboards and it only has three lights which are green, it works and at least allows me to use the S and W key, which is a definite improvement on my wine sozzled Cherry

that said it's been a lovely relaxing weekend, nothing stressy happened, kids have been well behaved, no riots or glassing's or fist fights, Freya managed to sleep through a rather noisy game of "Cranium" last night which we played and eventually lost interest, but that could have been all the Rioja we sank, some of which ended up in my keyboard :) and no we were not falling over drunk, just a little merry ... :) I even had time to dismantle and clean my rifle in the evening, which I am pleased to announce is now managing a 5cm grouping at 60 yards it's amazing what a bit of TLC does, which reminds me I must get the shock absorbers done on the Jeep soon

apparently there is a huge firework display in Carmarthen tomorrow, I may well attend it's been ages since I have seen a good firework display, I'll be dragged into taxi work for the kids anyway :)

Diater trike at keyboard central

I ent againt my on advice lat night and had ome very nice Rioja in quite a big gla anyay, a I ent to turn off the computer I knocked the entire content of my ine gla over my keyboard, I have to key not orking and I'm ure you can gue hich one they are ????

I ill have to ee if I have a pare keyboard knocking about, becaue thi one ha ritten it' lat blog entry


....... :(

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

it's my last day of paternity leave

and I have to see one of my customers today, I don't particularly want to go, and it's a no brainer setting up a a few laptops for secure wifi access to their company lan/wan ......but it puts a bit more in the melting pot so to speak, looking on the bright side it is a fantastic autumn morning, bright blue sky and gentle breeze if a bit nippy :)

Freya slept for 7 hours last night, a new record !!! it must be her mothers milk I'm convinced it's laced with morphine it's the only explanation.... Andrea's mother went home this morning, she has been a great help all through the week, piles of ironed clothes have been appearing as if by magic on the beds and the washing machine and iron have put in a request to have a well earned holiday and both breathed a sigh of relief when she left.....

we have the proud granddad coming down next week.

My stepdaughter is cuddling the incredible sleeping baby on the sofa right now, she is good with her although every now and again you have to remind her that Freya's head can't support itself like hers just yet, but she is getting the hang of it, and she adores her :)

ohhh nearly forgot to say, in town the other day we bumped into the xbox recluse on a rare outing from his xbox, it's quite disconcerting being surrounded by teenage hoodies where all of them are "ahhhhing" and "cooing" over her, to be fair though halo boy does have a nice selection of friends, he is a sensible lad despite his current addiction to body count in Halo3

the only other thing worth a mention is I forked out for a new phone, my old one which is nearly 4 years old was starting to creak at the buttons, I got the Nokia 6070 a pretty basic phone and for a knock down price of £25, like all phones these days it comes with a camera and a radio, and can play mp3's... bit of a waste really because all I will be using it for is texting and talking really....call me old fashioned

bring back the red call boxes !!! when life was simple and not a ringtone in sight !!

Anyway I must bugger off things to do etc

Monday, 29 October 2007

The battle of britain has started

We have two buzzards and a kestrel nesting nearby us, and when the buzzards take flight our resident evil clan of Crows and Ravens take to their wings and the most spectacular display of aerobatics unfolds in the sky above us, usually involving the buzzard flying upside down displaying it's formidable talons to the extremely brave (or stupid) Crows or Ravens, the Kestrel on the other hand is pretty much left to it's own devices hovering over the fields like a police helicopter a bit like a humming bird but a tad bigger !!!

there must be at least 80 - 100 ravens / crows congregating on our remote hill top, to be honest I am not looking forward to their morning chorus.

Freya had yet another peaceful night and she wakes up now just looking around the room taking things in and it's rare she cries..... we are under no illusions that this behaviour will in any way last....

but we hope it does, because neither of us are getting that tired or crabby through lack of sleep, probably Andrea more than me, because she has to feed her, but there isn't a lot I can do about that......

We are daring to go out today the whole tribe, just a walk around town to get some fresh air, should be nice :) .... no doubt Freya will come back with yet more fluffy pink clothes....


......well we made it back, Freya spent the entire time from being put in the car seat to getting home .......asleep..... but my prediction of pink fluffiness proved beyond any reasonable doubt, she now has even more pink to wear, women and baby clothes should be up there with crack addicts and granny bashing in my book, they simply cannot walk past baby clothes without touching them and saying "ahhhhhhhhh.........wouldn't she look sooooooo cute in that !!!"

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Well another relatively peaceful night

Freya only woke up once as far as I know last night and I was woken up by her this morning..... she is quite an alarm clock :) but even when she cries it's not at the usual newborn 140db brain piercing cry, she gets to a certain point and then only dogs can hear her.....

The weather is appalling out here in the sticks, it's that drizzly rain that completely soaks every pore you have. Andrea's mum has gone to a coffee morning at the boat club with my parents, so by the time she gets back she will know every little thing about me and my previous life, not that my mother likes to talk or anything or that I have anything to hide :¬)

to be perfectly honest I really don't know what I would have done without my mum and dad post divorce, she talked a lot of sense into me, some of which I ignored but a lot of it I followed and my Dad......well he was just my Dad always 100% there for me, solid and reliable, and unflinching ... salt of the earth and then some :)

anyway we have friends coming down today to "coo" and "ahh" over Freya the incredible unconscious baby and I'm managing to keep the kids quiet by luckily finding a windows version of "SuperTux" it's basically like "SuperMario" but with a penguin instead of a plumber, either way it's pretty addictive and my stepdaughter batters hell out of the keyboard in frustration sometimes when it doesn't quite go her way on it

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Ahhhh the CSA such a caring organisation....

I quote

"I'm writing today about the arrangements for collecting your child maintenance payments. According to our records, We've agreed that you should pay these by manual cheque, Calendar Monthly" Well thanks for telling me that you've agreed, because I haven't done anything of the sort !!!

but that's what you get with a faceless, unaccountable organization, with powers way above what it should have, they go on to threaten me with all the various methods they have now at their disposal should I prove reluctant to cough up, albeit still with no contact with my daughters. Don't get me wrong I'm not averse to supporting my daughters, but a reasonable and fair amount which can be afforded with none or very little impact on my new family, instead while one family reaps the rewards another has to scrimp and save to make ends meet, how is that looking after the welfare of children where one family has to suffer so another doesn't ?

My appeal has been posted/lodged, we simply cannot afford £175.54 a month simple as, and if it's enforced then I shall be forced to give up work to take me below their so called thresholds, so basically my new family will suffer and so will another family because I will have been forced to be unemployed, how is that helping ? all it does is throw another capable person onto the social security bonfire, because nobody works to have it taken off them, what is the point ? there is no incentive to better yourself

One thing I won't do is jeopardise the welfare of my new family. This isn't helping my daughters, well two of them might benefit if my payments aren't simply swallowed by the anonymity and enormous cost of the system, my youngest daughter will definitely be deprived, I sincerely doubt my daughters would see anywhere near what I would be paying and it certainly will not helping my three step children I am currently supporting, you know you buy into the whole package when you take on a woman previously married, when I married Andrea I knew I would be supporting the whole family.....but instead I'll be supporting two families..... it's the government propping up a failing social security system by clawing back what they can from people who can ill afford it....

here are some statistics :-


Child support agency

Money recovered by CSA from non-resident parent 350M
Money recovered by old court system 350M
Operating cost of child support agency to taxpayer 213M
Operating cost of old court system 60M
Maintenance assessment forms returned 260.5K
Total cases cleared 568K
Interim assessment 64K
Full maintenance assessment 187K
Average maintenance 45.53/wk
Interim maintenance 96.67/wk
Compliance rate 33%
Debt uncollectable 900M£
Normal employment rate 87%
CSA father employment rate 55%
No. fathers unemployed because of CSA 32%
No CSA related suicides 39
Percent of MPs mailbag taken up by CSA 10-20%
No. MPs wanting abolition of CSA 200
Time to deal with claims 211 days
Average accuracy rate (chief CS officer Haselwood) 34% accurate

makes you wonder why they exist doesn't it ?


when I was in the Army if we had an exercise and there were more than 50,000 troops deployed on it, and there were more than 2 deaths the whole exercise would be called off because it had exceeded the MOD guidelines on safety, but here we have a government organisation which through it's own statistics admit they have caused 39 deaths through hounding their non resident parents, they also cost more than the old system, and only have a 33% success rate AND 200 MP's want to abolish it's very existence.....

so it's beyond my understanding why they are still here

I can understand why fathers disappear off the face of the earth, and even commit suicide with debts such as these thrown at them when they are at their lowest and most vulnerable, I have a feeling this is going to drag on for years, but never mind it's gives me a hobby fighting the CSA :) as for fathers for justice, I think not..... I don't think it would be a good look in Lycra and a pair of underpants over my trousers