Thursday, 31 January 2008

The man flu has left the building :¬)

short lived though it was it did knock me for six, thankfully it's gone now all but the odd sniffle :¬)

I'm booked for vehicular repairs this weekend on the Pug 205, mainly because when I coast the car downhill it actually slows down and the bearings are starting to make tuneful noises at certain speeds, and my amazingly frugal fuel consumption has dropped to 45 mpg which is quite frankly disgusting ;¬)..... I've ruled out the brakes binding, so it only leaves the bearings....I got a quote from a local Pug garage and they wanted more than I paid for the car for the supplying and fitting the front wheel bearings !!! they got an email back asking if they were gold plated wheel bearings at £67 a pop !!!

so I went to a local motor factors in Swansea and picked up all the bits I need for £35, so that's two front wheel bearings, two tie rod ends and a front windscreen washer pump for that price and we have purchased a 2nd hand workshop manual off Ebay due here on Saturday so I have a vague clue as to what I'm doing, I've never done wheel bearings before so it's a new one on me but it doesn't look too difficult..(I can see the experienced mechanics spitting their tea out reading this).....but you forget I have a selection of hammers and other large tools to hit the car with in a Basil Fawlty styleeee.... I'm just glad of the indoor inspection pit, axle stands and trolley jacks, not to mention the largest selection of greases and oils this side of Carmarthen, all at my fingertips, it's ace having a fully kitted out garage, it's not even that draughty if you close the doors :¬)

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

I have a an unwanted freeloader

The whole family practically have had this bug and smugly I thought I had escaped it, but I woke up this morning with the back of my nose and throat feeling like somebody had rubbed it down with wet and dry and turps.... "ahhh well" I thought "if this is all it's going to be then I can cope with that"

but alas as the day has wore on, my legs are getting shaky and most of my joints feel like they have developed a joint ache of some description... even my wrists and finger joints feel sore !!!

anyway I've taken a couple of Beecham's flu plus and will carry on for as long as I can, no doubt I will be suffering from "man flu" and how much worse it is for men to catch a cold etc etc.....blah de blah ;¬)

I actually do feel .....pretty damn crap today


Sunday, 27 January 2008

Well the flights are booked

and I'm attempting to update my blog with Freya sat on my knee, she has a bit of a cold at the moment so is a bit snuffly but she does look very pretty in pink :) .....anyway we looked into driving up to Scotland for Andrea's brothers wedding but at nine hours drive with a 3 month old it wasn't going to be a pleasant experience, so we opted to fly from Cardiff to Glasgow, the flights were only £0.04 pence each.....yes you read that right !!!

but the airport taxes are £38 each !!! so it's not quite as cheap as it seems, plus we have to hire a car when we get up there, so all in all it's a bit of a logistic nightmare but I'm sure we will have a blast once we get up there :)

anyway here's hoping everything goes to plan

Thursday, 24 January 2008

And your bible verse for today is.....

Matthew 7:1-5

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbour's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour's eye.

1 Corinthians 5:12

"For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge?"

Just letting off steam at some sanctimonious judgery (or is that drudgery ?) recently...... some people really should look at their own lives before condemning others, nobody is perfect and some less so than others and they really should put down the stones and step away from inside the greenhouse or conservatory in this day and age...... mind you with toughened glass these days there is a definite chance of injury, second thoughts...... here have some bricks :)

"there are idiots and then there are fools but the biggest fool of all is the idiot who fools themselves"

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Well the stampeding mice

seem to have stopped, I suspect the poison has worked it's magic all I'm waiting for now is the faint odour of desiccating mouse to pervade the house at their last resting place(s) hopefully they all did a Captain Oates and went outside for a while....... One can hope :)

The weather is miserable today apparently 100mm of rain is falling on most of Wales that's 4 inches of rain in 24 hours !!! the ground is saturated enough already, to be honest I wouldn't mind some snow beats rain any day :)

I'm going to have to get the Pug's wheel bearings done and probably the track rod ends you know when they need replacing when you have to turn up the CD player to drown out the whine from the bearings, it's safe the moment

Work is going ok, it's getting a little busier I'm having to decommission Netware servers at an ever increasing rate as they get replaced by Microsoft servers it's keeping me busy so I can't complain :) and they do pretty damn good coffee..... We did have something funny happen the other day, one of the MS migration team rang up and asked if the Netware servers were ok, "yes I said" ...."how long have they been up ?"....he asked...."39 and 311 respectively" I answered ...."is that in minutes ???" ....he asked......"No" I laughed "Days!!!"

obviously being in charge of Microsoft servers you don't get used to them staying up for days !!!

Thursday, 17 January 2008

I'm sitting here waiting......

waiting until 8pm until I can go see my mother who was rushed into hospital this morning :(
the news was broken to me as I drove home, and it was like a stone had dropped through me.....

she won't be impressed having to stay in hospital but at least she is in good hands :(

11:30pm same day

Well I'm back, she seemed in good spirits.... but she asked me to stay after my dad and sister left, she wanted to ask me if it was ok to write my ex wife a letter, because something had been troubling her for some time...... I said it was fine and if anything it would be cathartic to do so....get if off her chest so to became apparent as we spoke that despite the lovely Christmas we all had, there was this gaping hole two daughters.... I did say it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference to my ex and that she would probably screw it up and bin it, and one letter wouldn't undo the nut job my ex had done on my daughters......she was hardly likely to say

"ahhhhh yes I meant to say sorry that I used your grandchildren as a weapon and denied your son access to them and both of you while I was at it....I'm so very very sorry......"

out of all the things she did that is probably the one thing I simply couldn't forgive her for ever..... I've learnt to cope with the pain of separation pretty well I think, it comes up every now and again and bites my backside...but it's getting less and less these days, but I don't think my parents have, especially my mother :( ....

I actually left the hospital feeling ashamed and angry......not by anything I had done, but by the fact that my own flesh and blood, my own two daughters don't have between them the common decency or care or love to at least keep in contact with their grandparents, a very "christian" attitude ....hypocrisy in motion more like..... Their grandparents did not deserve to be cut off like they have......sure you can hate me as much as you like (in fact bring it on at least it's an emotion of some sorts eh ?) ...... but don't take it out on two people who have loved you both from day one, and done nothing to hurt you ..... all these thoughts were whizzing around in my head as I left the hospital

Anyway Emma is 18 now a bona fide adult, she is old enough to make her own decisions, one day she will realise how it could have been so very different, but the years will have passed and the opportunities wasted and she will realise how much she has missed out on....the ball is in her court now, and as usual the silence is deafening.....

"ball boy fetch me another ball !!!" .....
"what do you mean you haven't got any left ?????"........
"ahhh well game over......."

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Cute isn't it....

It looks like mouse wars have resumed where they left off last year, except this time they have decamped from the out-house and into the loft, we noticed last night as we were in the bedroom getting Freya ready for her bath we both heard the scurry of small feet in the roof space, too big for a beetle and too small for a rat, therefore by deduction it must be a mouse or mice.... I immediately ruled out shooting them because that would be

a) Time consuming
b) Messy
c) Very hard

plus I don't have the training to balance on rafters with a pair of ninja infrared goggles whilst balancing a very heavy air rifle along with the fact that my wife wouldn't appreciate all the missed shots and holes punched through the ceilings, I considered the humane mouse trap again, but after pulling it out and inspecting it, I'm afraid after the many drownings I used it for when I got fed up of releasing them back into the wild "born free" style only to find they had made it back.....I was losing the battle and looking at the trap and it's the humane mousetrap had to be retired due to heavy rust.....

it was then that I remembered that the previous owners had left an unopened tub of rat/mouse/small child poison so I went on the hunt for it, I found a tub of white grout .....nah that won't work.... a tub of magnolia paint.....again that wouldn't work....AH HA !! one tub of rat/mouse party finger food....

I gingerly got into the loft and set about sprinkling pyramids of said party food..... we just have to wait now until they feast on the finger and claw buffet I have laid on for them..... and squeak their last squeak..... thankfully they aren't rats otherwise the smell would be awful as the bodies piled up..... but knowing my luck I have just discovered the largest single collection of mice in South Wales and will probably end up shovelling them out of the loft by the metric tonne.... you can't blame them really, it's lovely and warm in the loft (and so it should be with every bloody light and electrical appliance left on all day and night !!!)'s just not nice having them as house guests....not to mention the damage their sharp little teeth manage, as I found out twice once with the Christmas lights when I put them out for the Xbox recluses 16th birthday party, only to find out the mice had nibbled through the wires exposing the bare wires and me to 240v.....that made me pay attention.....Andrea on the other hand couldn't stop laughing, and the second time when Andrea had a fit of stupidity and insisted that I catch it in the dog food bin and release it back into the thanked me by sinking it's yellow rodents teeth clean through my thumb....the next one that decided to dine out on dog biscuits got shot so hard it forgot to bleed.... :)

anyway the continuing struggle against mouse domination will rage on until I wipe out every last single rodent and we are a mouse free zone.....once again !!! (it doesn't help living next to fields all around us.... but I can't change that)

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

is that rain outside I hear pitter pattering ?

and judging by the river this morning we only need another few hours rain and I'll need to put floatation tanks on the Pug to get to work, it was absolutely hammering it down last night and our babbling brook at the bottom of our field is now a raging torrent, the roar of which can be heard easily from our back door, the river Cowin has already burst it's banks by this morning

so other than the weather everything is fine at Chez Brabrook, we bought a

"Bumbo" chair for Freya off Ebay....and it works a treat, it basically makes her feel very secure, it supports her back up to just below her shoulders and her arms rest on the sides, not to mention the holes for her legs which clamp her in, she can't fall out of it and it's very secure and made of soft latex, so must be pretty comfortable to sit in, it's quite funny watching her sat in it, think of Buddha and the wobbly head dance and you're almost there :)..... she is a little sweetie, she is sleeping now from about 9pm till she is basically woken up whatever that time is, on the weekends is frequently 10am....she does like her bed that girl, and she always has a big grin for anybody that asks her, even at 8am in the morning !!! she must be getting gold top off her Mother, not that her mother can be a cow at times (I'm so dead for that one) ;¬)

Nah everything is tickety boo, kids are ok, dog is alive, hamster even gets topped up with water from time to time when it's banging it's head on the bars for attention....

One thing I am trying to do and that's educating the kids to turn things off after they have used them like LIGHTS and COMPUTERS and ANYTHING electrical, in fact after dark you can't miss our house on the hill, it's that MASSIVE SUPERNOVA of light that blinds you as you come over last hill from Carmarthen, yes that house that has EVERY light switched on in EVERY room along with EVERY computer and EVERY other electrical appliance, no wonder our lawn thrives so much it's getting perpetual light 24/7..... and it's not so much a Carbon footprint more a Carbon far I'm having about as much impact as a Jehovah's witness giving out watchtower magazines at a witches coven on Halloween, I'm seriously considering setting up remote shut-down scripts on a schedule to automatically switch off computers after say 11pm (no arguments.....byeeee) all I have to master then are the light switches !!!!! I could always just super glue them off and give them a rechargeable torch each, that's gotta be cheaper ;¬)

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Where are the lions when you need them eh ?

I'm joking of course, but recently I seem to be attracting a lot of discussions about some fairly deep questions, the most recent was someone who got into a discussion with me about Darwin and various other lines of questioning obviously based around his beliefs, it wasn't anything I said to him that started him off, it was something he said to me and I gave the other side of the argument, he was basically saying that Carbon 14 radio dating wasn't accurate, I sort of disagreed stating that it was accurate but only to a point after which Carbon 14 is replaced by other isotopes and testing methods which have half lives of billions of years rather than 5730 +-40 years for Carbon 14

the thing is people tend to hear something and rather than research it and find out the truth they blindly state it as fact, some people don't even know that Scientists can check their accuracy by using different isotopes OTHER than Carbon 14....

The first radiometric dates, generated about 1920, showed that the Earth was hundreds of millions, or billions, of years old. Since then, geologists have made many tens of thousands of radiometric age determinations, and they have refined the earlier estimates. A key point is that it is no longer necessary simply to accept one chemical determination of a rock's age. Age estimates can be cross-tested by using different isotope pairs. Results from different techniques, often measured in rival labs, continually confirm each other.

There is only a 1% chance of error with current dating technology. Every few years, new geologic time scales are published, providing the latest dates for major time lines. Older dates may change by a few million years up and down, which is no big deal when we are counting in billions, think of it like a few minutes lost or gained in an hour :)..... younger dates are stable. For example, it has been known since the 1960s that the famous Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, the line marking the end of the dinosaurs, was 65 million years old. Repeated recalibrations and retests, using ever more sophisticated techniques and equipment, cannot shift that date. It is accurate to within a few thousand years. With modern, extremely precise, methods, error bars are often only 1% or so.

after bombarding him with this information he then went on to state that fossils were nothing more than left overs from the biblical flood, I then asked him if that was the case then how does he explain all the marine life suddenly not surviving too well and laying down massive fossil records, and if indeed there was a flood of biblical proportions then why would the massive armoured fish and other marine life suddenly not be able to survive in their own (deeper) habitat post CT boundary ???? maybe they died out of boredom ? ;¬)

I also told him that Hippos are related to whales..... "how ridiculous" he guffawed..... hmmmmm how ridiculous indeed :)

Monday, 7 January 2008

The flying red brick

or basically I could have won "Dancing on Ice" with my recent escapade in the jeep.....I had a timely reminder this weekend not to take things for granted ie/ the road conditions, up on our hill the roads were dry and I set off to pick up the x-box recluse from his cinema experience of "I am Legend" anyway, he missed a train so was due back in Carmarthen at around midnight, so off I set at ten to midnight.....not very impressed that I was family taxi at that ridiculous hour, which probably contributed to my lack of attention, so about 2 miles down the road I came to this sharp turning right and had that horrible feeling every driver dreads where the steering goes ultra light with no feedback from the tyres..... I'd hit black ice and lots of it, it didn't help that I had a 90 degree bend to negotiate and thinking the worst I prepared for a sudden stop, luckily I was only doing 30-ish-mph or thereabouts and despite the jeep starting to slew out at 45 degrees as I tried to take the corner the back end whipped back into line as I tried to take the corner slewing out in the opposite direction and despite the overwhelming desire to hit the brakes I knew that would have had the complete opposite effect to what I wanted....anyway before I knew it I was around the corner and rather messily and I should imagine anybody witnessing the manoeuvre would have thought it wouldn't have looked out of place on a Starsky and Hutch episode, but without crashing through strategically placed cardboard boxes ..... I got to the T junction and that's when the adrenaline kicked in rather too late for my liking !!!

Needless to say I became very aware of the road conditions from then on and since!!