Monday, 31 March 2008

Denbigh Cider makes you mental

Hwyl Euros, welcome to my ramblings !!! :) one of my friends, Euros up in North Wales has invited me to a sampling of his finest cider, Denbigh 7 (makes you mental) pre beta release leading up to the Denbigh beer festival, which I attended a few years back now, basically you turn up at the event (sober) where it's being held, buy some beer tokens and partake of the brewed offerings and leave slightly under the weather (drunk) after several hours...obviously passing a kebab house or two.... I have to admit I have NEVER fancied a kebab after partaking in beeriness activities, but let it not be me to judge others in this matter, now cider is renowned for removing ones ability to walk the quickest and in some cases your eyesight, and if Euros has had a hand in producing this marvel of intoxication then I should imagine NASA are queueing up to purchase thousands of gallons to power the next space shuttle in their attempt to jump on the green band wagon.......behold the space shuttle the first cider powered take off !!! ;¬)

anyway I digress the last time I attended the Denbigh beer festival we all ended up at some persons house who was kind (stupid) enough to let us all in as we "band y gegin" wandered around the streets aimlessly, and I mean aimlessly..... and on waking up it looked as if somebody had taken the roof off the house, removed the first floor, then tipped us all in the front room.... it looked like a game of twister which had gone horribly wrong....we had a fantastic time (I think....) and I hope to repeat it at some point :)..... never have I laughed so much in one night....

and as they say .......once in a while does you no harm ;¬) ..... all things in moderation :)

I actually don't like the feeling of being drunk, but occasionally my safety valve blows a gasket, which usually involves Euros saying "HAVE ANOTHER!!!" or the 2nd littlest at our house and his fascination for the toggle on the winebox.... you turn your head away and your glass is full.......and the well lets just say the rest is history.... :)

Sunday, 30 March 2008

It's official.... it's summer time !!!!!!!

and I've woken up to a brilliantly sunny day :¬) ....I hope you remembered to put your clocks forward and hour ? and thinking about it, it will need to be summertime to dry out the carpet in the laundry room, the flood has subsided thankfully .....

so today it's just a matter of throwing a grenade in the various rooms to tidy them up before my better half returns from Liverpool sometime today and it's job done ;¬)

then tomorrow it's back to the grindstone after 10 days off.... it's been brilliant having this time off, I haven't had a proper holiday in what seems ages, it was nice to relax and spend time with the family

Saturday, 29 March 2008

You know I mentioned that the house hasn't burned down ?

Well that's probably because we had a flood of mini biblical proportions, not sent down by God this time but the washing machine, I've tracked the fault down already on the damn thing and fixed it whilst paddling in the small swimming pool that was the laundry room.... Thank goodness for Vileda super mops is all I can say....

Now you washing machine savvy people (women) will think "pah a man, he didn't close the door properly....did he" ... alas no, our washing machine is man proof, you cannot start the washing machine unless the door is engaged and watertight.... so what could have caused this several gallons of water to gush forth like it did ?

This little deluge was down to the washing powder drawer being left to coagulate into a small orange sized ball of gelatinous goo, which once given enough lubrication slumped off the washing powder drawer into the water feed tube which eventually empties into the washing machine drum, on inspection the tube narrows.....need I say more ? the lump of washing powder jammed itself tightly in the tube whilst the washing machine was entirely content that the door was shut and "man proof" turned on the taps to fill itself....the rest they say is history...albeit wet history

now not being the keeper/guardian of the washing machine I can firmly put this one in the hands of the aforementioned washing machine keeper...... although to be fair, it was a flood waiting to happen, you don't really check the drawer of your washing machine very often do you ?

Might I suggest you do in future ???? ;¬)

ps/ the carpet has come up lovely .....

pps/ the fix included cutting a 1 metre long piece of TV coax and ramming that down the tube below the draw until a loud glug was heard, followed by the water level dropping rapidly.... so confident am I that it's fixed, I've put it on again and so far's keeping the water inside itself

ppps/ I've found the miracle cure for oily grime embedded behind fingernails that won't shift even with a scrubbing brush..... it's called a washing machine flood !!!! :¬)

The weather is awful today

and I've been left holding the fort while Andrea takes the train up to Liverpool to see her Nan who is very ill, she has taken Freya and the 2nd littlest, so I'm left here with the two teenage tearaway's , they aren't much trouble really, the Xbox recluse sits in his bedroom like a bandwidth vampire sucking the life blood out of the BT broadband wirelessly.... and the other one spends most of her time either on MSN or bebo or watching some dross soap's or even worse....."friends" re-runs .... so they are both happy

The house hasn't burned down yet although I am beginning to realise what a 24/7 job it is following teenagers around picking up after them as they leave a trail of devastation and destruction behind them.... and in about 20 minutes I'm dropping off the step daughter in town in the driving rain so she can see her friends, you wouldn't catch me out in this I can assure you.... best friend or not, I would have to insist on a nice warm pub and a cold beer to get me out in this ;¬)

I've also managed to seal the howling gale that appears in the office/study window when the prevailing wind blows, by applying copious amounts of translucent sealant down the enormous gap left by the window people when they installed the window in here..... it has stopped my goatee from being wind swept and distorted to the right when I sit here and do my computer stuff...although the CPU temperature has climbed as it's main source of cooling has now been lost..... it's flat calm in here and maybe the completely inadequate radiator will have a fighting chance of pumping some warmth into this last :)

and I have managed to fix the two chairs in the kitchen with some proper wood glue, the last people that had them thought that blue tac was a brilliant solution....alas it may be good at sticking paper to walls, but it's pretty damn poor at keeping struts in chair bottoms in, and underneath the blue tac was a load of silicon sealant, so it had little chance of holding itself up let alone a person sat on it.....

and after dropping off my step daughter in the howling wind and rain in town, I've just sealed her bedroom windows which had similar yawning gaps, so hopefully after it has set and the smell of the sealant has gone.......I can turn the heating down ;¬) ..... bah humbug....

Monday, 24 March 2008

What a swine !!!

Today was the day I decided the wind had dropped enough to fit the drive shafts to the Pug, I jacked up the Pug and put a couple of axle stands underneath and started to take off the hub on the right hand side then proceeded to remove the right hand drive shaft......let's just say it was a complete swine to get off.... the intermediary bearing on the old drive shaft seemed to be spot welded to it's carrier, but it was eventually persuaded out of it's carrier and I didn't lose too much gearbox oil either, in the swap over !!

the second one was replaced in about 15 minutes, I didn't even bother separating the lower ball joint, the shaft just slipped out and I slotted the new one in, all told it took me about 2 hours, and that included refilling the gearbox with just over a litre of oil, I took it for a test drive (after making sure my brakes were back !!) and other than the wheels needing balancing it doesn't sound like somebody doing their rendition of "In the air tonight" by Phil Collins when you turn corners.... so alls well that ends well :¬)

all I need to do now is return the old drive shafts to get my £25 surcharge on each one returned..... so all told £114 for two drive shafts..... and I've saved a fortune in garage bills, hopefully that's it now until the pug develops something too serious to repair, and fingers crossed a few years from now !! :¬)

anyway normal service has been resumed on this blog I doubt there will be any further entries regarding my grease monkeying exploits.... All I need now is a bombproof method of removing black oil and grease from under my any suggestions will be gratefully received

Sunday, 23 March 2008

What a weekend !!

The wind has been howling and when the wind wasn't howling it was raining or throwing sleet down at 45 degrees.... it's not been conducive to fit the drive shafts so I'll leave that for through the week seeing as I have 10 days off for a rather sneaky four days holiday ;¬)

We went off to Wisemans bridge yesterday to blow the cobwebs out, but no cobwebs were blown anywhere, because it was a northerly wind and of course most of the beaches are south facing so were sheltered, so we were pleasantly surprised to find Wisemans bridge becalmed and sunny, but it didn't last, we had to come home to our house on the hill and it's howling gales.....

and as the sun went down everything went flat calm......bizarre weather !!

anyway we are having a chilled out time watching cheesy television and about to tuck into home made soup and some rather fantastic home made bread :¬)

Roll on summer .... I think it's coming soon.... allegedly ......

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Oh bugger.....

looks like the pug needs two new drive shafts, well probably just one, but I might be able to get away with replacing the CV joints we shall have to see......but best to replace both I guess :( hopefully this will be the end of it...... lets face it there isn't much else I can replace on the damn car, new bearings, new pads, new disc's.... but looking back I haven't really spent that much getting it working as it should, but you do begin to wonder what's going to go next on it

£8.50 x 2 bearings
£14.99 x 2 front discs
£12 for front pads (ish...can't remember)
£9 washer bottle pump

I think that's it plus the £20 for using a bearing press not bad I guess and the least you can expect to pay really considering the age of the car, everything else bar the small oil leak from somewhere near the alternator (which is common I hear, and not really serious....yet).... it's not like it has cost us hundreds of ££££'s to get roadworthy

The only other thing of note is that I got really hurt by a GIRL !! you have got to laugh but it just shows how bloody deadly this Aikido is she was half the size of me !!! ..... she is a blue belt so quite high up, but even so she really shouldn't have done what she did, my arm came so close to snapping it was untrue, hence the third party liability insurance I guess !!

she was learning the move "Nikkyo" and rather than doing it slowly to allow me the "Uke" to let her know when it hurt by tapping either her or myself, she (the Nage) snapped my wrist back and rotated it WAYYYYYYYY too far for my old tired bones..... the click and crunch was heard in the hall, closely followed by me hitting the mats with a loud thud, and the mad thing is I was laughing, which I do when I'm hurting quite badly.....(strange man)..... she was told off by the Sensei (the teacher) as she had missed the point of training in that both the "Uke" and the "Nage" are to learn by applying and receiving the technique and it is a two way street, the Sensei then demonstrated the technique on her at full speed, she was on the floor in less than a second with her hand up her back and his foot on her neck...........and she winced.....then tapped frantically...... he then said "see !! that shows you very little respect!!!" then he demonstrated how it should be in his Dojo where both attacker and defender learnt by their actions and showed each other respect at all times, I have to admit I'm not very comfortable with the etiquette side of things as Japanese culture is so foreign to me, but after a while it becomes second nature....

sitting crossed legged though bloody kills me....I haven't done that since I was in primary school and it shows !!! ;¬)

I'm really enjoying it and at £4 a session you can't knock it and it's quite easy for me to pick up, it has similarities in unarmed combat, but is more flowing and uses less energy to disable your attacker, and Nikkyo if used in anger will shatter your opponents wrist and elbow into about 20 the Sensei said "they tend not to get up after you have done that to them !!"

Monday, 17 March 2008

Yet another Peugeot 205 repair done

I really do believe that this blog is turning into an online Haynes manual for the infamous Pug 205, I'd been putting it off since the last repair thinking ahhh it will last a few months more..... that was until I had to hit the brakes hard on the M4 to stop myself from becoming intimately entangled into the back of a BMW X5, although looking at the ground clearance I probably could have driven straight underneath it ;¬)

Anyway the slightly warped front disc brakes showed their true inability to bring the car to a controlled standstill even after standing on the pedal with the downforce of a man demented......(don't worry I had ABS thigh muscles retrofitted ) and after my heart returned to it's proper resting place in my chest I swore I would fit new front disc brakes... it turns out they aren't that expensive, I picked up a set from Halfords for £14.99 each which I was pretty damn chuffed about...and this weekend I fitted them in under 35 minutes, well lets face it the front suspension and wheels have been off that car so many times this past few weeks/months ? that they knew the routine by now, in fact I think the bolts were still warm from the last time I had them off ....

and after a pensive if not "ride of your life" test drive in the driveway as the new disc's showed their mettle and did indeed stop me from driving into the house but only after I had forgotten to pump the brakes to get the hydraulic pressure back....(nothing steels the nether regions like forgetting to get your hydraulic pressure back after working on brakes...needless to say my right leg went like a humming birds wing until resistance was felt !!) and I did indeed stop 2" from the house :)

Tech note :1.. never assume anything!!

so after I was secure with the idea that the brakes did in fact work as intended, I took it out on the road and thankfully that jerking feeling when braking which was similar to being towed up the hill on Blackpool's biggest roller coaster was gone and the good old pug came to a restful stop and dare I say it smoothly

I think the pug has become a bit of a hobby for me now, I just wish the Jeep was as easy to work on, but alas it's not, I've had to ring around to get the camber done on it, the main dealer won't touch it because they don't have a camber machine whatever one of those does, and the only garage in the area that does have one is going to charge me dearly for having it done, but considering it only had new tyres in October and the front ones are showing signs of abnormal wear already I will have to bite the bullet and get it done at £100 a pop (ish) on the tyres for the Jeep it's not cheap replacing them so often :( (even if it is the better half's runabout now)

Monday, 10 March 2008

We are back from the Scottish wedding !

and it went very well :¬) apart from being delayed flying from Cardiff by 50 minutes because the co-pilot rang in sick, so we had to wait for another one, take off was very smooth, however the approach and landing at Glasgow airport was anything but smooth, to say it was like sitting in a see-saw with worn out bearings as we approached the airport would be an understatement, it was gut wrenching to say the least, and Boeing 737's tend to be pretty big to be flung about like that, I had to laugh at the demonstration by the flight attendants I could no more adopt the brace position as the seating on that plane was tight, if I had attempted the brace position there is no way I could get my head between my legs, as I had 4 inches of space in front of me and zero behind me, Sardines have better travelling conditions....and besides everybody knows the brace position isn't for your own protection it's for making your body more easily identifiable through dental records should you're just protecting your teeth !!! .....I mean after all, what use is putting your head between your knees, when you are hurtling towards the ground at 600 mph ? (lets face it, you're going to get slightly more than a nasty case of whiplash).....

Anyway.... all I can say is that I'm glad it was only just over an hour flying ...... and of course because Glasgow airport was the very same one some guy decided to try and make a bonfire out of, by driving his 4x4 loaded with petrol into the terminal, all cars were banned from picking up or dropping off...... anyway we eventually got our sewing machine......sorry..... hire car from Budget Car Hire, it was a Fiat Punto (flat as a bottom burp in a thunderstorm..... and that's being generous) I was considering stopping the car and checking to see if it actually had a petrol engine fitted or if as I suspected it was clockwork..... it's 0 - 60 could be measured in weeks and to top it all off.... it was pouring with rain (hello Scotland), it was so bad some poor motorist aquaplaned off the M8 and was sitting behind the crash barriers looking bewildered. I had no such fears though because I could walk faster than our hire car, and to aquaplane you have to be at speed.....which we had no chance of attaining with the prevailing wind and friction of the rain holding us back....

Anyway we eventually got to Andrea's brothers house and were greeted by the best man in his PJ's..(heavy night ?)... and it wasn't long after that that the sun came out the dark clouds dispersed and we were on our way to the Melville Castle hotel (see picture above) in our completely inadequate sewing machine. Melville castle is a very grand 4 star hotel and a perfect place for a Scottish wedding, it wasn't long before we were all seated and I had told Andrea not to worry about Freya playing up and that I would deal with her should she start screeching because it was after all her brothers wedding !!! Freya had been woken up at 3am that morning and was bundled into the car, flown to Scotland in a gut wrenching flight.... was definitely out of her comfort zone, anyway things seemed to be going ok right up until the Piper started piping the bride into the hall, at which point Freya opened her eyes like one of those vampires or the undead in those old Bella Lugosi films ....stared at me paused....thought about it for a second as she sampled the pipe music....and then proceeded to half moon her mouth in a downward position ready to show these Scottish people what a real welsh baby sounded like at a piercing 120db...and just before she started to banana and fill her lungs...... I made a ninja stealth exit through the side door and sat with her in the lobby, she eventually went to sleep and carried on sleeping during the entire wedding ceremony, I apparently fell asleep as well, but I strongly deny that.......even though it was an incredibly comfortable soft leather sofa, the ones that grab you and don't let you go... I was of course merely inspecting my eyelids for cracks, and getting up at 3am driving to Cardiff then flying to Glasgow then driving to Edinburgh had nothing at all to do with it one little bit.... ;¬).... honest

anyway before I knew it everybody was out and photographs were being snapped as I wiped the dribble from my suit lapel, I'm not sure if it was mine or Freya's but I told everybody it was hers....;¬) I mean she isn't going to contradict me at 4 months old now is she ? we got quite a few good pictures of the bride and groom and other ancillary guests...(we shall be putting them up on our photo website, if you're interested in seeing them let us know via an email and we will tell you how to get to it !!!)..... and No Ann or Christine there aren't any inappropriate kilt shots of Andrea's brother or any other Scotsman for that matter in any of them ;¬)

The wedding breakfast was delicious and Andrea was reduced to tears by the best man's speech, he was an old friend of hers and her brothers when she lived in Edinburgh, she basically lost the plot and got all girly & unnecessary and it was all down to her brother looking very happy with his new wife and how things were now all round :¬).... well you know how weddings effect women (rolls eyes...)

......Thankfully Freya slept through most of it speeches included, and once the live band was on that is what I think set her off for the night, she slept like a log through the entire evening and we had an amazing time, I even witnessed "strip the willow" which is almost an impossible dance to follow it's like watching a stand of DNA unfold before your eyes, I sat all of the Scottish dancing out (my excuse being I was Welsh, the reality is I have two left feet and would have taken people out with my ineptitude at all things regarding dancing or jigging about), but I did do some stylish Dad dancing later on with the help of a few tequila slammers knocked back with Andrea's Canadian relatives, (man can they drink ;¬) ).... and we have an open invite to visit Canada all we have to do is pay for the flights :¬).... so that's lovely.... I don't think I embarrassed anybody and that's probably because I was pretty much sober by the end of the night.....ish... well I was in a much better state than some I could mention :¬)

it was a completely mad party and the Scots certainly know how to throw one, eventually the night wound down, and unbeknownst to me Andrea had tipped off the live band that it was my birthday, so I was named and shamed and had happy birthday sang to me with all around clapping and shouting, as for buffday presents .....I got a fantastic blue cashmere jumper off my better half (it's really nice and she has been warned not to stick it in the tumble dryer this time !!!) and a bottle of Penderyn Welsh Whisky off the kids, my parents bought me a bottle of Jack Daniels and some cash from my in-laws for some Rioja(sigh).....always handy these days, the cash not the Rioja ;¬)

(anybody would think I drank a lot....tsk tsk...I don't by the way, never really liked the feeling of being drunk especially after my brush with certain death at the age of 13(?) with a bottle of Hennessey live and learn...)

we had a traditional Scottish breakfast minus the haggis.... which was much needed by a few.......... overall the whole stay was fantastic, the room was fantastic, the company excellent and I was sad to leave so soon.... the flight back was pretty uneventful and we landed at Cardiff Wales (Rhoose) airport at around 5pm in miserable weather and were driving home by 5:30pm, I picked up our daft Labrador "Roxy" from my parents around 8pm and we settled in glad to be home from our mad two days away....

and being a sucker for punishment I am off to my Aikido training tonight with the Xbox360 recluse..... no rest for the wicked it seems ;¬) no doubt I'll be posting from my hospital bed tomorrow after tonight's Aikido because at 45 you simply don't bend the same way you used to when you were 21

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Oh I love the online Gazettes

I've been browsing the net today whilst resting my shoulder, generally googling various things...:¬) boredom set in fairly quickly, but something perked my interest....

The words :-

Trust Deed

The Address :-

30 Traquair Avenue,

and the date:-

7th December 1998

oh I laughed...

(I'm guessing only one other person knows what I'm saying

still laughing..... :¬)

Karma baby.....Karma ;¬) .......

it's not so much the odd skeleton more an entire crypt falling out of the closet......

I'm off sick today

I've woken up with a frozen shoulder, I haven't had this for years it's been acting up for weeks a soreness right in the centre of my shoulder, I have a feeling it's down to either driving or working at my desk on the computer..... so I'm home today in the hope that resting it will improve it :¬)

couldn't have happened at a worse time really the pressure is really on at work :¬(

anyway I'm going to rest up and try not to swing from the rafters too much

Saturday, 1 March 2008

The madness of bureaucracy

We have an answer back from the CSA regarding the appeal, and they have ten weeks to come back with a decision, but apparently I have to continue paying the debt at the rate they specified even though an appeal has been lodged......

excuse me but DUHHHHHHHHHH.... the only reason I am appealing is because I cannot afford the payment schedule they have laid down, and if I did pay it it would make my family suffer because of it, so it's a no brainer, food in the kids mouths and a roof over our heads or pay the CSA ......hmmmmm

I have the feeling they have no grasp on the realities of making a living and paying bills, it would be reckless of me to start paying them, and a dereliction of duty and care to my current family, so all I can do is put off the inevitable as long as humanly possible....

I have requested all information they have on their system about me, including logs and notes ....dated of course, under the data protection act, and they have written back stating that they have until the end of March to provide the information, so it will be extremely interesting reading what has been said about me by various parties, and it does give me the right to correct any half-truths or lies that may have been said about me, plus any other correspondence between my ex wife and the CSA....which under the data protection act they are forced to provide the information :¬)

My ex must think she is hurting me in some way, but it's only money, maybe if she ever got off her backside whilst we were married and worked for some "honest" money and helped towards buying any house we ever had, or contributing in some way towards household expenses I would have more respect for her now, but alas I don't, not content with reaping the benefits of getting a house for a knock down price, her 30 pieces of silver so to speak.... her greed it seems is limitless.... I honestly feel sorry for her.